Connecting GVSU to Grand Ravines

ribbon cutting
Left-right: County Commissioner Matt Fenske, Judge Peter Versluis, Bea Idema, President Philomena V. Mantella, Ambassador Peter Secchia, and County Commissioner Greg DeJong

Celebrating a special event

Partners gathered on October 23, 2019 on Grand Valley State University’s campus to celebrate the completion of the Versluis GVSU Campus Segment of the Idema Explorers Trail.  The completed trail now connects Grand Ravines to GVSU’s Allendale campus and the Allendale business district. Eventually, the Idema Explorers Trail will be 36.5-miles and connect Grand Rapids to Grand Haven

Grand Valley State University President Philomena V. Mantella said the Grand River Greenway project improves the quality of life for students, as well as their experience and their access to the river. “Part of what attracted me and many of our students to our great university is the beauty of our campuses, and the settings along the Grand River are a part of that incredible beauty,” Mantella said.

“This trail system will eventually connect our campuses and be used by thousands of our students and student athletes for training, education and recreation.”

President Philomena V. Mantella

Funding the Idema Explorers Trail

Peter F. Secchia, co-chair of the Grand River Greenway Campaign Committee thanked those who helped fund this section of trail, including:

  • Ottawa County Parks Foundation
  • Georgetown Township
  • The Versluis Family

Secchia and the Grand River Greenway Campaign Committee are working to raise the final $1.1 million needed for the project. 

The funding from these organization and individuals leveraged a grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). Cathy Sampselle, the Grant Coordinator for the MDOT Office of Economic Development spoke at the event. Sampselle described the project as a fantastic example of what we can do when we all work together.

“Investing in a trail like this will pay dividends in public health, transportation system, mobility, and economic growth for generations to come.” 

Cathy Sampselle

Versluis GVSU Campus Segment of the Idema Explorers Trail

Images and video provided courtesy of Grand Valley State University

Read the Ottawa County Parks press release here