The Argo Cascades: Wild Ride
In short order, the parks advisory commission and the city council approved the design, by Gary Lacy of Recreational Engineering and Planning of Boulder, Colorado--the nation's foremost in-stream designer. Supplying the muscle would be TSP Environmental of Livonia, while local firm Beckett/Raeder was the team's landscape architect. The firms' proposal called for a series of four pools connected by three long necks taking paddlers on a gradual twelve-foot descent over the 1,500 feet from the dam to the river just above Broadway.
Money was available in the parks budget, thanks to the 2006 parks maintenance and capital improvements millage--and the county chipped in $113,000 for a new bridge over the entrance. Once the state DEQ issued a permit in August 2011, construction began.
But when the Cascades opened last spring, the design had changed significantly from what city council had approved: instead of three longer, wider drops, there were nine much shorter, narrower drops, flanked by protruding rock dams. The resulting pools were much shorter than originally planned.