In 2014, the WMPA went through a process to seek and identify priority projects from throughout the 13-county region. A total of 31 projects were submitted and through a public voting process, the region selected 5 priority projects to support. Those projects included the Port of Muskegon, West Michigan Watershed Collaborative, Connect Michigan, Michigan Work Ready Communities, and Emerge West Michigan.
In 2016, the WMPA once again sought to identify priority projects to support. A total of 13 projects were submitted through a formal Call for Projects this summer. A public engagement meeting was then held on Monday, October 3, 2016 at Grand Valley State University’s Seidman Center in downtown Grand Rapids.
Nearly 130 people from throughout the region attended the meeting to listen to presentations on each of the top five projects and use electronic voting clickers to help prioritize the projects. Below is a list of the project in ranking order based on the meeting results.
- Grand River Revitalization: Restore a 2.5 mile stretch of the Grand River through downtown Grand Rapids.
- Regional Force Main: Construction of a 20-mile long Muskegon County Wastewater System to Coopersville force main.
- College Degree Credit Alignment: The four Community Colleges in Region 4 will work together to provide cohesive skills trade curriculum and alignment with national certification.
- Hardy Pond Trail: Create a 47-mile long loop mountain bike trail around the Hardy Pond in Mecosta and Newaygo Counties.
- West Michigan Water Systems: Conduct an inventory of water and wastewater systems within Region 4 including GIS mapping layers, a decision support system, and develop regional water systems goals and objectives.
On Monday, October 17, the WMPA voted to fund 85% of all five projects using existing funds available, with the hopes of funding the remaining 15% if FY2017 funding becomes available.