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:

Hope you are finishing up a great week.


One important update to share with everyone. Our consultant team will be returning May 5 - 10 to continue with their data collection, interviews, tours of Downtown, and to convene our second Steering Committee meeting. If you are on the Steering Committee, look for a follow up email from me today to schedule a time for our next meeting. Given the number of events taking place Downtown during that time, including West Michigan Design Week, the International Downtown Association’s Mid-West Forum, and the Fifth Third Riverbank Run, it is sure to be busy, but very exciting week!


Two more informational items this week.

First, at At our Alliance for Investment meeting on April 8 we had a group discussion that focused on public spaces, and in particular Grand River access. That led me to do some research on inspiring projects in other cities, when I came across this article: (note: if you click on the project name it will open up a profile with a longer description and more photos). My two favorite projects on the list are the Kalvebod Waves in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the WMS Boathouse at Clark Park in Chicago. Both are great examples of providing unique recreational opportunities along and in rivers. If anyone has other great examples of public spaces, either from this list or elsewhere, I would love to hear them.

Second, on Thursday the Pew Research Center released Next America, an article (and book), exploring the demographic shifts that are happening in America. A few things stand out:

  • In 1960, the United States was 85% white. By 2060, it will be 57% non-white.
  • A record number of people are “going gray”, such that between now and 2030, 10,000 Baby Boomers will be turning 65 every day.
  • Due to longer life spans and lower birthrates, by 2060 there will be as many 85 year olds as there are 5 year olds.

I think it is a fascinating piece, and helps to illustrate the changes that are taking place across our country. As we start to plan for the future of our City, and specifically our Downtown, it is important to think about how changing demographics in Grand Rapids are being incorporated into our policies and visions of the future.

As always, if you have any questions please let me know. Otherwise, have a great weekend.