Ada Village Redesign

Ada Village redesign project takes another step

Jan Holst | Advance Newspapers By Jan Holst | Advance Newspapers 
on July 16, 2013 at 12:53 PM, updated July 16, 2013 at 2:58 PM

The recent major consolidation of property ownership in the village of Ada by a property management company operated by Amway Corp. was designed to open up the opportunity for Ada Township officials and area business owners and residents to work toward the vision that was originally expressed in the 2006 design charrette.

ada-redesignThe Ada Township Downtown Development Authority has been working on the formal redevelopment plan and is now ready for more public input.

As part of that process, the public will have a chance next week to explore the design options being developed through the DDA. Public open houses sessions are set for 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 24, and Thursday, July 25.

The DDA selected a design firm, put a steering committee in place, and has been working through a series of meetings designed to gather input with 10 groups of stakeholders. The various groups were made up of like-minded individuals such as area business owners, tenants of Thornapple Village Shopping Center, and representatives from the Ada Historical Society and Ada Arts Council. Individuals within each group discussed and strove to prioritize ideas about transportation, green space, community gathering places, and land use, under the guidance of engineers and members of the design consultant team from Progressive AE/Jeff Speck & Associates.

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While there has been a wealth of input, there are few ideas that haven’t been discussed before,” said DDA Board Chair Robert Kullgren. “The design criteria set in the 2006 charrette are still valued today and are acting as a great jumping off point,” he said. “Now we are beginning to add the details.”

There has been a lot of discussion about providing safe streets in Ada, how to make the village as walkable as possible, and how best to use the river frontage. “There is ongoing discussion about whether the river area should be all public, all private, or a combination of both,” said Kullgren.

Another issue for many has been how to make Ada more of a destination spot. “Everyone has ideas of why people drive to Grand Haven, Saugatuck, or Rockford but they are all very different. The really nice thing here is that we have all of this open space and we get to decide what we want to do with it.”

The public open houses will be held in the lower level Fellowship Hall of The Community Church, 7239 Thornapple River Drive. “The public may drop in at any time and stay as long as they wish,” said Kullgren.

This is not the public’s last chance to be involved in the village redesign project. There will also be a week-long walk-in design workshop from Tuesday, Sept. 3, through Friday, Sept. 6.

For additional information or to track plan progress, visit or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

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