Kent County is helping protect Grand Rapids from floods.

Thursday night, Oct. 13, 2016, the Kent County Commission voted to co-sign when Grand Rapids borrows the money to increase the height of flood walls that protect the city from the Grand River.

Because the county has a AAA bond rating, commissioners say it will save Grand Rapids about $340,000 dollars in interest payments and other costs.

“So that is $340,000 dollars the city can use on other services,” explains Commissioner Dan Koorndyk.

Supporters admit there is some risk to the county’s credit rating, but consider the collaboration a “win, win situation.”

“The river corridor is a major revenue generator for the entire county,” points out Drain Commissioner Bill Byl.

“Just because it is in the City of Grand Rapids doesn’t mean just the city benefits from it. The whole county benefits from having a prosperous and secure downtown.”

Raising the flood walls will not only provide more protection, but some owners of property in areas currently at risk for flooding won’t have to buy flood insurance. Or, if they do, the premiums will be lower.

The flood wall work is supposed to be finished in 2017.