Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Planning Manager Tim Kelly emails a weekly GR Forward update to the project Steering Committee. Here's this week's communication:

Greetings Downtown Plan Steering Committee and Community Partners:

I hope you are wrapping up another successful work week. Below you will find the second of our weekly updates about the progress of the Downtown Plan. As a reminder, the Update section provides specific information about the work of the Downtown Plan Steering Committee, while the Resources section provides information and knowledge intended to elevate the quality of the discourse on issues inherently related to city building.


First, thanks to all the Steering Committee members for your response and assistance in scheduling our first meeting. As confirmation, the meeting will take place Thursday, April 3 at 10:30am. Everyone that is expected to attend should have received an invite from me this week. The location has not been finalized, but as soon as it is I will share those details with the group. Our lead consultant, Interface Studios, is eager to get back to Downtown to meet you all and embark upon this journey together.

Among other things, one of the items we will be discussing at the first meeting is the community-wide Downtown Plan launch. While the details are still being finalized, I am excited to let you know the launch will occur the week of May 5th in collaboration with West Michigan Design Week. Design Week celebrates the world-class design work happening in our region, and given the importance of design to the future of Downtown, this is a natural and exciting partnership. To learn more about Design Week and its organizers visit:

As a side note, that same week Downtown Grand Rapids will also be hosting the International Downtown Association’s Mid-Western Urban District Forum. The Forum will bring hundreds of our colleagues in Downtown management to Grand Rapids, and will provide a great opportunity to showcase our community.


As we prepare to convene our first Downtown Plan meeting, I thought it would be useful to provide resources to illuminate some of the conversations that will inevitably emerge over the course of the next year. Most planning processes such as this will begin with a discourse about ideas and visioning. To help frame our perspective on being open to big ideas, feel free to read a recent Rapidian article by DGRI’s Kristopher Larson, who provides an overview of the importance of being receptive in Ideas Work Here.

This year, DGRI has enjoyed a great partnership with the Rapidian. The site has provided a forum for our original commentaries related to Downtown culture, growth, and management. Links to those articles appear below, for your convenience. As we begin to embark on many important conversations about Downtown’s future, these articles are great resources to reference.

As always, if you have any question related to the Downtown Plan please let me know. Thanks again for your partnership and interest in this important endeavor.