Alpine Avenue is widely known throughout West Michigan for its shops, restaurants, entertainment…and traffic jams.
As the City of Walker begins its Year 2040 Master Plan process, the Alpine Avenue corridor, and the surrounding neighborhoods, will be the focus of the first of four Neighborhood Open Houses. The Alpine Avenue Open House will be held on Wednesday, June 19, from 5 pm to 7 pm, at English Hills Country Club, 1200 4 Mile Road NW.
“We wanted to start with Alpine Avenue because it’s such a visible, impactful part of our City,” Assistant City Manager Frank Wash said. “And the future may not be the same as Alpine’s past or present. Significant changes in transportation, housing and commercial activity are being predicted.”
Participants are encouraged to stop by any time between 5 and 7, and to stay for as long (or as short) a time as they want.
“We will have several activities set up that attendees can participate in at their own pace,” Chris Khorey, West Michigan Manager for McKenna, the planning consulting firm assisting with the Master Plan, said. “Everyone has busy schedules, so we want to accommodate that.”
The Walker Planning Commission will hold their regularly scheduled meeting at 7:00 pm that night, immediately following the Open House, at English Hills rather than their usual meeting location in the City’s Commission Chambers. The Planning Commission will discuss public feedback received from the Open House.
Alpine Avenue, which carries 50,000 cars per day between 4 Mile Road and I-96, is home to numerous businesses, as well as apartment complexes and residential neighborhoods. But with transportation, retail and housing trends predicted to change, the Alpine Avenue corridor may look different in the future, according to Wash.
“Our master planning goal is to design a reasonable yet visionary plan for the Alpine Avenue area in the year 2040,” he said. “The corridor is close to downtown Grand Rapids. There are great views of the Grand River valley. The Amazon Effect will continue. It will take a community effort to enable a desirable future.”
The City has defined the area (known as a “Neighborhood Cluster”) to be discussed at the Open House as generally east of Walker Avenue, west of the Grand River, south of 4 Mile Road, and north of the Grand Rapids City limits. That area includes residential and industrial areas that are near, but not directly on the Alpine Avenue corridor.
“The Alpine Avenue corridor is crucial, but it’s not the only important thing about this part of the City,” Khorey said. “We’ll need to make sure we understand the needs of other residents and businesses as well.”
The Alpine Avenue Open House will be followed by three more public events through the summer and early fall to discuss other Walker neighborhoods, including Standale, South Walker, and the northwestern part of the City.
“Walker has so many different kinds of neighborhoods that we felt we needed to use these geographic components to really understand the diverse needs of residents and businesses,” Khorey said. “At the end of the process, we’ll put everything together like a puzzle into the Walker 2040 Master Plan.”
The Walker 2040 Master Plan process is an update of the City’s 1998 plan, which has guided development for over 20 years.
“The 1998 Master Plan has been very important to us,” Wash said. “We still use it daily. And we have been adopting specific neighborhood-level plans since 2007. But it’s time to take a renewed look at where we are overall as a City…and where we are going.”
McKenna is based in Northville, a Detroit suburb, but is managing the Walker plan out of its office in Downtown Grand Rapids, which opened in September of 2018.
Grand Rapids Township-based Prein and Newhof will also be providing consulting services for the Master Plan, specifically in the areas of infrastructure and engineering.
Christopher Khorey, AICP
West Michigan Manager
Frank Wash, AICP
Assistant City Manager/Community Development Director
City of Walker