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Plainfield Avenue project earns national honors | Public Spaces

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Plainfield Avenue project earns national honors
Plainfield Avenue project earns national honors

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (Michigan Department of Transportation)-- The Transportation and Development Institute (T&DI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has selected a project in the city of Grand Rapids as an example of how public agencies and the private sector can effectively work together to accomplish green initiatives.

A paper on the project was presented this week at the institute's second Green Streets, Highways and Development (GSHD) Conference in Austin, Texas. Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Grant Coordinator Mike Smith and Grand Rapids Engineer Breese Stam are making the presentation.

This project was made possible by federal, local and private funds to finance street improvements that included innovative storm water management techniques. Along with the reconstruction of Plainfield Avenue from Leonard Street to Dean Street, seven water quality, or bio-retention, islands were created to not only beautify the area but also purify storm water runoff before it reenters the Grand River Watershed.

Investment from business owners made up the majority of the project's funding, along with $146,000 from MDOT through a federal Transportation Alternatives (formerly Transportation Enhancement) Program grant. An endowment fund of $30,000 also was included in the cost for 20 years of island maintenance.

"I take pride in helping to make this neighborhood a place of home for many. Donating to this project was an investment in the community, the property and the environment," said Deck Andrejczak, property owner and investor. "The residents, the city of Grand Rapids and MDOT really worked well together and made this a special project."

"This is what transportation enhancement grants are all about. They enable us to work with communities to secure Michigan's future by creating environments that help promote economic growth while making communities more livable for residents and more attractive to business investment," said Mike Kapp, MDOT Economic Development administrator. "MDOT is very pleased with the outcome of this project and to have the opportunity to contribute to the local vision for the area. The state, city and communities involved are honored to be recognized on a national stage."

A video produced by MDOT showcases this unique project and explains how the islands work, as well as the partnership between the city, state and the local neighborhood association and businesses that made it happen.