Grand Rapids Whitewater has made financial headway for its river restoration project but still is working toward its cost of roughly $40 million, with construction estimated to start in 2019.

The nonprofit’s CEO, Richard Bishop, updated the Kent County Board of Commissioners about the project during its Sept. 28 meeting.

Bishop estimates the total cost of the project — restoring the rapids in the Grand River — will be close to $40 million, including construction and development costs. They have raised about $16 million for the project so far, including federal, state and local funding and $5.7 million in private funding.

“We feel pretty confident that we can get there,” Bishop said.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow recently secured $8.1 million from the Regional Conservation Partnership Program: $4.8 million of that is slated for river restoration, while the rest is dedicated to water quality research.

Bishop said Sen. Gary Peters is working to secure potential funding of around $1.8 million from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission budget, which would help fund construction.

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