ALLEGAN RIVERFRONT PROJECT WINS STATE PROJECT OF THE YEAR AWARD
The City of Allegan has been awarded the 2019 Project of the Year Award by the Michigan Chapter of the American Public Works Association for our Allegan Riverfront Development project! The project will be recognized at the Annual Conference in May of 2019, and was forwarded to the APWA National office for competition at that level.
The collaboration between the City of Allegan and Abonmarche Consulting of Benton Harbor was also awarded the 2018 Quality of Life Project of the Year by the Michigan Section of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) last year.
The prestigious award is presented to the project which most exemplifies the association's theme, “ to directly impact the quality of life in the community served.” The Allegan Riverfront project was recognized for having positive effects on human lives without adversely affecting the surrounding environment.
Abonmarche capitalized on the existing assets to turn the area, located between picturesque historic buildings and the Kalamazoo River, into an attraction point for businesses and visitors. Tony McGhee, Vice President of Development Services for Abonmarche, says, “The Allegan community gave us a great canvas and vision to work with and it has been a pleasure assisting them in bringing this vision to life.”
Objectives of the Allegan project included enhancing of the community’s natural resources through creating a place for people to gather and recreate nestled between the Kalamazoo River and the community’s downtown.
What had been a dilapidated and little used parking area slowly has been transformed into a destination area for residents and visitors alike. The first phase, which began in 2015, included the development of a performance stage, landscape improvements and the development of a pedestrian plaza. The second phase included additional park improvements and the installation of a universally accessible canoe and kayak launch. The third phase included the addition of a zip line over the Kalamazoo River and parking improvements.
The fourth and final phase, which completed construction in November of 2018, included a splash pad, an 18’ long fire pit, additional pedestrian plaza and landscaping, as well as the installation of a shade structure and additional tables and seating for people to use while enjoying the area. An official ribbon-cutting is planned for spring 2019.
The effects of the project are evident all around when one visits the Allegan Riverfront. From investor interest in purchasing long empty properties, to new business openings, and the increase in both the number of events and the volume of people attending them the community is advancing nicely.
Joel Dye, Allegan City Manager says, “The community’s commitment to investing in the redevelopment of our Riverfront has resulted in leveraging numerous new investments in both businesses and properties within our downtown area.” Dye adds, “The attention the Riverfront project drew to our community resulted in people seeing all of the other potential we had and the momentum has just continued to carry forward in our Downtown.”
Next time you're enjoying the Riverfront, take a look around and bask in the beauty and activity backing the prestigious awards bestowed to the Allegan community.