GV begins construction on Mount Vernon Avenue pedestrian mall


Courtesy / Amanda Pitts, via GVSU

Trevor Hubert

Last week, GVSU broke ground on a new construction project that will turn Mount Vernon Avenue on its Pew Grand Rapids Campus into a pedestrian mall. The $3.9 million project was approved by the Board of Trustees on February 26th and construction began March 1. 

The school hopes that the project will help revitalize the downtown campus and get students to enjoy more of the amenities that will be offered. The new Mount Vernon Avenue is set to feature more outdoor tables and benches, a bike trail, and more open green space, which could create the opportunity for more university events on Pew Campus. 

The new mall is also intended to make Pew Campus more accessible and easier to navigate, connecting Secchia Hall, Seidman Center, Winter Hall and the Bicycle Factory. The project will move some of the campus utility lines underground. 

“I think right now, Mount Vernon is an old brick road,” said Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning Karen Ingle. “It’s barricaded off at Fulton Street. It’s not very pedestrian-friendly. It just looks like it’s out of commission, under construction. So this is going to really energize the area and bring together all of our buildings on the south side of Fulton.”

Ingle also emphasized that the upcoming improvements to the downtown campus will benefit the city of Grand Rapids as a whole. 

“It’s going to really be an improvement to the area for students and faculty and staff and really for Grand Rapids as well,” Ingle said. “There will be a bike path going through the area that connects to the city bike path, so it’ll be open to the public. It’ll improve the visibility of the campus, so it doesn’t look barricaded off and under construction.”

Other improvements to the area will include the additions of patio areas, raised planters and seating walls.

The project is expected to be completed in August of 2021.