Lyon Square redesign would add event space, garden along Grand River

Grand Rapids

A rendering by Progressive AE shows the proposed redesign of Lyon Square in downtown Grand Rapids.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Designers are sharing their final vision in the yearslong effort to transform downtown Grand Rapids’ Lyon Square.

Progressive AE unveiled renderings of the space during the Downtown Development Authority meeting Wednesday. The images show Lyon Street leading to winding sidewalks that cut through a lush garden along the Grand River.

(A rendering by Progressive AE shows the proposed redesign of Lyon Square in downtown Grand Rapids.)

Lights hanging above the street at different heights create an illuminated ripple, evoking an image of Grand Rapids’ namesake.

(A rendering by Progressive AE shows the proposed redesign of Lyon Square in downtown Grand Rapids.)

“For those who imagining that they can’t get into the water, this is a way for them to experience it,” explained design architect Mausharie Valentine.

The designs also detail an event space overlooking the water with wood planking, a canopy and a fireplace.

A bike trail running along the riverfront would cut through the event space and feature a drinking fountain that can be used for dogs, runners, cyclists and people in wheelchairs.

The boardwalk juts out above the water. DDA Chair Rick Winn the space could be updated to allow for river access at a later phase, depending on rapid restoration efforts and demand.

Valentine told the DDA the goal of the redesign is to create a “flexible, four seasons space” that connects people to the context of the city.

(A rendering by Progressive AE shows the proposed redesign of Lyon Square in downtown Grand Rapids.)

She said the immersive setting and “intense and powerful movement through the space” is meant to draw in visitors from the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and Monroe Avenue NW.

The renderings show Lyon Street flush with the sidewalk — a move landscape architect Nolan Miller said is aimed at unifying the space and making it more accessible to all visitors. Progressive AE plans to include a snowmelt system throughout the paved areas.

(A rendering by Progressive AE shows the proposed redesign of Lyon Square in downtown Grand Rapids.)

Designers would use lighting installed atop the adjacent Exhibitors Building to create a moonlight effect in the gardens. Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. President and CEO Tim Kelly said there also looking at “more permanent opportunities” to have projection mapping in the space in a later phase of the project.

(A rendering by Progressive AE shows the proposed redesign of Lyon Square in downtown Grand Rapids.)

Mark Miller with DGRI said the Lyon Square project is nearing the end of design development with a goal of starting construction in late April.

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