GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Haven Downtown Waterfront & Infrastructure Resiliency project has been named the 2021 Project of the Year in Structures over $1 million by the American Public Works Association West Michigan Branch.

For centuries the project area has been a key part in the function of the Grand Haven community serving as a catalyst for the fur, lumber manufacturing and tourism industries. The city of Grand Haven said the waterfront improvement initiative was a “critical community investment” to meet infrastructure needs for downtown businesses and provide amenities to support tourism.

“We are so honored to have earned an award that truly speaks to the long-lasting impacts a city and its partners can develop for the communities they serve,” Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis said in a press release. “Our downtown waterfront area will grow and flourish in the decades ahead, and we’re proud to improve this area for our residents and visitors alike.”

Waterfront & Infrastructure Resilience project area (Courtesy of the City of Grand Haven)

Due to the heavy use of the area and importance to the community, the city said the project was structured into two phases.

Phase I set the area’s infrastructure and utilities for future use. This included the reconstruction of Harbor Drive between Franklin and Columbus Avenues by replacing pavement, the sanitary sewer and storm sewer, water main, traffic signal and more.

Phase II created additional amenities and improve connectivity throughout the area. This includes removing trees and power lines that block the view and addressing narrow sidewalks in the area.

Now that Phase II is complete, the city said there is now universal access to the waterfront in the area, new seating, gathering areas and plaza as well as creating more unrestricted views.