Buchanan approves plan to revitalize public river access

City of Buchanan

BUCHANAN, Mich. -- The Buchanan Planning Commission recently voted unanimously to adopt the Buchanan Riverfront Master Plan, a document that the city calls a comprehensive initiative aimed at revitalizing Buchanan’s public access areas along the St. Joseph River.

"This transformative project, generously funded by the AEP Foundation and facilitated by Abonmarche Consultants, is set to enhance the community's connection to the river, promote ecological restoration, and provide inclusive recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike," said Community Development Director Richard Murphy.

The goal of the plan is to reestablish Buchanan’s connection to the local section of the St. Joseph River along Redbud Trail.

"The Buchanan Riverfront Master Plan is a story of restoration– restoring the community’s historic connection to the river and protecting and enhancing the area’s natural features," Murphy said. "By achieving these goals, the city seeks to improve the quality of life for residents and create new economic opportunities through enhanced public amenities creating a mini National Park Experience in small town Buchanan."

Funding for the plan includes a grant from the Michigan DNR to construct an ADA-accessible kayak launch, and a technical assistance grant from the Great Lakes Saint Lawrence Cities Initiative to create a detailed restoration plan for the riverfront area.

"Buchanan is committed to being a responsible steward of the land," Murphy said. The plan outlines sustainable practices for managing stormwater, reducing erosion, and maintaining the natural beauty of the riverfront."

The plan was put together over the course of 12 months and includes input from local residents, organizations, and other stakeholders.

City officials say input gathered from the community was invaluable in shaping the final plan and ensuring it aligns with the needs and desires of the city's residents.

“We are deeply grateful for the insight and thoughtful participation of the citizens of Buchanan to forge this visionary document that will create transformational opportunities and experiences for generations to come on our special bend of the St. Joseph River in Buchanan," Buchanan Mayor Sean Denison said.

City officials say the plan focuses on developing trails, vista areas, and improving pedestrian and ADA access.

"This plan represents a pivotal step in Buchanan's journey to reconnect with our historic roots along the St. Joseph River," Mayor Denison said. "The community's input and the generous support from the AEP Foundation and other partners have been crucial in making this vision a reality. We look forward to seeing the positive impact this project will have on our city's future."

The full Riverfront Master Plan can be viewed online at 

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