The Grand River Waterway organization was formed to pursue the Grand River Waterway (GRW) project. The project covers the 23-mile section of Grand River between the Bass River Inlet near Eastmanville and the Fulton Street Bridge in Grand Rapids. The main goal of this project is to return safe navigation for recreational boating on the Grand River. The Grand River Waterway organization retained Anderson Economic Group to conduct an in-depth study of the economic benefits of the Grand River Waterway project on West Michigan.
We found that there are over 77,000 registered boats in Kent and Ottawa Counties, and that Michigan has the third largest marine market in the United States. We estimate that the initial dredging will generate a one-time impact of $3.6 million, and the annual maintenance would increase output by $282,000 annually. We also estimate that the net new visitor spending due to the project will generate an economic impact of up to $5.7 million annually. Lastly, we estimate that the property value premium associated with the dredging could add up to 16.9 percent, or about $54.4 million, among the hundreds of residential properties along the Grand River in the project area.