SHARECOMMENTMORE

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - The expansion of a program for restoring and improving urban waterways nationwide is expected to boost efforts to restore rapids to the Grand River in Grand Rapids.

The Environmental Protection Agency, the White House and other federal departments announced Friday that they're adding the West Michigan city's waterway to the Urban Waters Federal Partnership.

The previously planned rapids restoration involving Grand Rapids Whitewater and others is expected to cost $27.5 million and calls for construction of new rapids and removal or lowering of dams.

Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality spoke Friday at a ceremony at the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum. "We know that restoring these waterways and improving them can revitalize the surrounding communities and help grow our economy"Sutley said.

In making Friday's announcement, federal officials say a key step will be recreating the city's namesake rapids. Pending regulatory approvals and funding efforts that are expected to take place this year, the initial phase of the effort could be completed by 2016.