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:

Happy Friday All!


Some exciting things to update you on this week.

First, we have a website! For all things related to the project, you can now visit: The website will continually evolve and will have several interactive features for people to provide input at different points in the process. As the website indicates, we are also now on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If you utilize social media, please make sure you follow us to get the latest news on all things project related.

You will also the notice from the website and social media the project has been branded as GR Forward. This name and logo are based on input from the Downtown Plan Steering Committee, and encompasses all aspects of the project, including Downtown, the Grand River Corridor, and the work at the Museum School and Innovation Central High. I think the brand does a great job of communicating our mission, and I hope it resonates with you as well.

Lastly, today also marks the beginning of our public input process. Our team will be in attendance at Movies in the Park tonight, and tomorrow we will be a part of the Festival of the Arts. Attached you will find a press release related to all these activities. While this is just the beginning of our public outreach, we are extremely excited to start talking with the community about these important efforts.


Yesterday was the first meeting of the River Corridor Steering Committee (see attached photo). As part of the introductions, Committee members were asked to use one word to describe the River. One of the recurring themes was “potential”, which got me thinking about transformative projects along waterways.

One of my favorites is Sugar Beach in Toronto, which recently won the 2014 Place Design Award from the Environmental Design Research Association: The project took a former parking lot in an industrial area, and revitalized it into a cherished public space. The space is designed as a place of respite for Toronto residents, and provides opportunities to interact with Lake Ontario, and to take in views of the city skyline.

As the Grand Rapids embarks on the process of reclaiming one of its greatest assets, it is exciting to think about the opportunity before us. The repurposing of the Grand River and the adjacent land has the ability to not only transform Downtown, but also the entire City and points beyond.

As always, if you have any questions please let me know. Otherwise, have a wonderful weekend and I hope to see you around Downtown this weekend.