HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Hudsonville is getting $1 million in state funding to help pay for its downtown redevelopment project.
City Manager Patrick Waterman said the city has been working with the community for more than a decade to put together a comprehensive master plan for the Harvey Street area.
“One of the underlying themes that came through from the community is they want their downtown to be more walkable,” Waterman told 24 Hour News 8 Thursday.
He said Hudsonville is currently geared toward cars as a result of redevelopment in the 1950s and 1960s.
“I think we’re returning to more of that traditional downtown development pattern that communities of old had, that Norman Rockwell-esque communities had,” Waterman said. “Vibrancy in the downtown is what people are expecting now and so we’re trying to accommodate the desires of our residents.”
The redevelopment plan mimics the Dutch “woonerf” design, meaning it’s built around a shared or living street with the primary focus on pedestrian access. It will include an archway at the entrance to Harvey Street, inlaid brick on the path and a splash pad water feature. There will places for outdoor concerts and for food carts to set up and operate.
Waterman said receiving $1 million from a state economic development grant came as a surprise.
“We got kind of a cold call from (state Sen. Arlan) Meekhof’s office asking if we had any exciting projects going on and we said, ‘Yeah, absolutely, come down.’ We shared with him our vision for the downtown and this plan and they really seemed to get what we were trying to accomplish,” Waterman said.
On Thursday, crews were busy putting the finishing touches on phase one of construction, which stretches from School Avenue to Plaza Avenue. Phase one, which was funded through a 2016 bond measure, is expected to be complete in a couple of weeks. Phase two, which includes upgrades from Plaza to Cherry Avenue, should be completed sometime next summer.
Waterman says the woonerf-like roadway will lead people to the city’s new Terra Square farmers market, which opened in June. The Terra Square building doubles as an event center and economic engine, as it includes space where local entrepreneurs can pay to work.
A $3 million mixed-use building including apartments is expected to go up with the street reconstruction, drawing interest from investors.
“These are the amenities that I think millennials are looking for, empty nesters are looking for. They want vibrancy and want walkability in their downtown,” Waterman said. “And our hope was that these public investments would be followed by private investments.”