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:
Good Morning All:
I hope you are all finishing up another great week.
While the major work between now and September revolves around completion of the existing conditions analysis, there is other work taking place in all facets of the Plan.
On Wednesday, we toured a prospective open house location. Though a few details remain to be coordinated, the space would be perfect for our efforts to promote and engage people in the GR Forward effort. As soon as more details on space and open house events are available I will share them with you.
Yesterday, the River Corridor Steering Committee held another very productive meeting. Committee members shared their experiences from the kayaking tours on the River, and the consultants provided an overview of the public engagement strategies to be employed. There was a lot of good dialogue between the Committee and the project team, and it is exciting to see that portion of the work off and running.
Lastly, there is also a lot of good work going on with GRPS. Programming and space planning for the Museum School is under way, and further preparation for work at Innovation Central High is also taking place. Once the school year starts back up, there will be a number of engagement activities with students and the neighborhood. I will send out more details on these activities over the next couple of weeks.
Related to our online efforts, we continue to see increased usage on both the website and on social media. Though in most instances this week’s numbers are only slightly higher than last week, it still demonstrates an upward trend.
This post on streetsblog.org on the connection between pathways on urban rivers and health benefits it interesting: http://la.streetsblog.org/2014/08/06/report-urban-river-parkways-a-cure-for-many-ills/#.U-Jz3PZR-sA.twitter
The article summarizes a report from UCLA’s Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, which concludes building walking and bike paths is not only good for public health, but is also positive for the economic health of individuals and cities. Other highlights from the report include the following:
For every $1 spent on trails, $2.94 is saved in direct medical benefit.
The annual cost per user of building and maintaining urban river trails is between $83 and $592, while the annual public health cost per capita of physical inactivity is $622.
Obesity accounts for 21 percent of overall healthcare costs in the U.S.
The creation of one miles of trail is, at the most expensive, less than health costs relating to obesity and diabetes.
Exercise with views of nature led to more consistent mental health improvements than exercise with no or an unpleasant view.
As always if you have any questions please let me know. Otherwise, have a great weekend.