Big Rapids River Street Park Riverwalk Trail

City of Big Rapids

Big Rapids hired Cornelisse Design Associates and Prein&Newhof to design Riverwalk, a trail connecting downtown Big Rapids with Northend Riverside Park. P&N’s role involved surveying, mapping, setting the alignment, bridge and foundation design, hydraulic modeling, and MDNRE permit acquisition.

During Phase I, hydraulic modeling showed that the Muskegon River’s floodplain was actually 5 feet lower than shown in Big Rapids’ flood maps. This made bridge crossings both possible and affordable, avoiding the need to install a longer single-span bridge or purchase upstream properties for flood mitigation. Phase I included three pedestrian bridges: a 130-foot-span over the Muskegon River, a 110-foot-span over the Muskegon River, and a 75-foot-span over Mitchell Creek. This phase also included four fishing platforms, resting areas, and a number of retaining walls.

The City of Big Rapids received 100% grant funding for Phase I of Riverwalk. Over $400,000 was raised from local and corporate donations, by “Access for All,” a citizen-led group to promote handicap access to the Muskegon River. Other significant funders included the Michigan National Resources Trust Fund and the Great Lakes Fishery Trust.

P&N provided mapping, floodplain, and permitting assistance on the remaining two phases of this trail project, which were completed in 2006 and 2010. The completed trail is over three miles long.


Project Manager Jim Hegarty, PE, (616) 364-8491

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