"This 2-part series explores two projects on Michigan's Grand River and how a fast-growing region is struggling to define a relationship with the river it was built around."
"GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — After dropping through downtown, the Grand River flattens out. There, the state is considering a dredging project to open the river to larger boats and travel between Grand Rapids and Grand Haven, a city at the river's mouth where it empties into Lake Michigan.
And, like the rapids restoration and riverbank improvements planned for downtown, this project is raising questions about what a city does with the river it grew up around. Can a thriving city and its surrounding area pursue both environmental and economic health? A vocal portion of the public argues that—due to history, ecology or economics—the dredging project cannot.
That project, the Grand River Waterway, would make 22.5 unmaintained miles of the Grand River navigable to boaters, opening access to Grand Rapids from Lake Michigan. Proponents say buoys and dredging parts of the river would make it safer for nonlocal or inexperienced boaters and increased traffic would generate revenue that far outstrips the project's cost."