June 15, 2017

Coldbrook trail opens to water's edge

The City of Grand Rapids, its Parks and Recreation Department, Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. (DGRI), the Michigan Department of Transportation, Monroe North Tax Increment Finance Authority and the West Michigan Trails & Greenways Coalition officially opened the Coldbrook Edge trail this afternoon.



The City of Grand Rapids, its Parks and Recreation Department, Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. (DGRI), the Michigan Department of Transportation, Monroe North Tax Increment Finance Authority and the West Michigan Trails & Greenways Coalition officially opened the Coldbrook Edge trail this afternoon.



The Coldbrook Edge project runs along the Grand River from Coldbrook to Leonard streets. It is a growing multi-use river edge system that connects downtown Grand Rapids for active commuters and outdoor lovers. It is the first demonstration of an idea that will strengthen flood protection, improve public access AND expand recreation opportunities along the Grand River in Downtown.

Coldbrook Edge construction work began in November 2015 with the following goals:


  • Manage flooding/stormwater through the design of the trail landscape
  • Create pedestrian access to the river edge
  • Provide a continuous multi-use trail connection
  • Create habitat and increase opportunities to manage stormwater
  • Showcase future trail design standards.
  • Create a connection to the existing trail north of Leonard (this is currently along Monroe Ave)
  • Demonstrate the promise of river edges that the community envisioned through the GR Forward Downtown and River Plan

Deputy City Manager Eric DeLong said that Coldbrook is a great example of resilient infrastructure that supports civic life and commerce. “The community came together to envision this stretch to design and invest in new flood control with this imperative to balance uses in mind.  The project demonstrates the power of partnerships; including DGRI, the West Michigan Trails & Greenways Coalition, the Kent County Drain Commission, MDOT, Kent County, Monroe North Tax Increment Finance Authority and the City of Grand Rapids."

The foundation of this project is partnership as the Coldbrook demonstration project was built on land acquired through a generous grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.



The third phase of the FEMA required flood protection improvements is currently underway. This phase will raise the flood protection level from the Blue Bridge to the north end of Ah Nab Awen Park. The portion of work visible south of the Van Andel Museum includes raising the elevation of the sidewalk and soil embankment as well as installing barrier walls. Additionally, Front Ave will be milled and resurfaced to raise its elevation at the section between the VA Museum and the Eberhard building.

Grand Rapids is currently investing $15 million in new flood control infrastructure to achieve the new 100-year flood stage.



Trail opening activities included a run/bike-through ribbon cutting and speakers Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, Kris Larson of Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc., and John Morrison of West Michigan Trails & Greenways Coalition.