Parking Problems: Joint Work Session in Ada & the Envision Ada Plan

envision ada map.jpg
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(Note: In the above map, the gray structure on the left is Amway, and the road running parallel to it is M-21. For more details on the Envision Ada Plan, you can follow this link to the Ada village website where it goes into extensive detail about the plan.)

( Audio recording of the meeting will go here )

The Ada Township Board, Ada Township Downtown Development Authority, and the Ada Township Planning Commission met at the Community Church in Ada, Michigan, on January 26, 2017, to discuss the ongoing renovation of the village of Ada.

One of the main topics of discussion was the ongoing parking situation in Ada. Since Ada is landlocked by M-21 and residential areas, this means finding a solution requires debate and cooperation between the government and businesses. One option floated during the session was to create shared-parking spaces via agreements between businesses, while another option is to create more public parking at a central location along with safe walking areas (that is, substantial lighting and safe walkways). Although the plan to build a two-story parking structure in downtown Ada has been walked back, that idea isn’t totally off the table and could solve the parking issue by building up instead of out. One primary concern about the parking situation is that if it isn’t settled, then businesses may be dissuaded from moving to Ada. This means parking is a lynchpin issue and could stall progress on the “Envision Ada Plan,” but township supervisor George Haga said, “We can’t just stop the project.” He also suggested creating a committed of members from the present groups at the meeting to deal with the problem.

After discussing parking for about an hour, the discussion moved forward with a representative from Amway taking the floor. Amway has been a major investment partner in the development program and plans on building a multilevel shopping structure in Ada. They also want to build affordable housing to make Ada more appealing for young professionals and draw them away from Grand Rapids. One part of this plan is to build condos near the post office and the CITGO gas station (located on the west end of Ada and close to M-21).

The last major topic of the evening concerned raising Ada Drive above the flood plain to prevent further issues with flooding. The current plan is to widen it to three lanes allowing parallel parking on the street. Construction on the east-bound lane is slated to begin on March 1, 2017, and be completed by mid-May, and the west-bound construction is slated to begin in mid-May and be completed by August 1, 2017.

At the end of the meeting the floor was opened to the public for comment. Warren Remel, a resident of Ada, suggested incorporating subterranean parking areas in new buildings as a cheaper alternative to building a free-standing parking structure. Pastor Billy Norden, the pastor of the Community Church, gave a brief statement reaffirming his church’s involvement in the redevelopment of Ada, and a local woman urged the present groups to maintain Ada’s natural beauty and village aesthetic.

The meeting concluded at 9:16 p.m. and the next township board meeting is scheduled for February 13, 2017.

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