ALLENDALE, Mich. (WOOD) — A trail that will take nature lovers along the Grand River from Grand Rapids to Grand Haven continues to take its shape.
The $40 million Grand River Greenway project recently got a big boost in fundraising from the private sector. Earlier this month, the Bill and Bea Idema Foundation pledged $2 million towards the project and the Wege Foundation pledged another $860, 000.
When completed, the trail will run along the Grand River from Kent County’s Millennium Park to Grand Haven.
It also signals a big change in the public’s attitude towards the river from just a few decades ago.
“The Grand River was a resource that’s kind of been neglected for a long time,” said Curt TerHaar, Ottawa County Park Planning and Development Coordinator. “Now that you don’t hear about sewer overflows and that kind of thing, I think people really see it’s a positive part of the community.”
The project began two decades ago with the county buying chunks of land along the Grand River for park space.
The trails are the last phase of the project.
“There is some existing trail in Grand Haven Township,” TerHaar said. “Certainly there’s some coming out of Grand Rapids. But we need to build about 27 miles on new trail to really complete the project.”
Project leaders hope to have it completed in the next four to five years.