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 August Everyone:

I hope you are all finishing up another great week.


We are gearing up for what is going to be an intensely busy Fall. As we plan for public events and our project open house, it is imperative that we generate as much community attendance and participation as possible. To do so, beginning in September we will be going to as many neighborhoods, business associations, committees, institutions, and civic meetings as we can, both in Grand Rapids and in neighboring communities. We have generated what we believe to be a comprehensive list of meetings to attend, but if anyone on this email has additional ideas please pass them along.

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.

Website Views

Facebook Likes

Instagram Followers

Twitter Followers

3,745 (+514)

360 (+13)

89 (+4)

70 (+1)


This report from Sasaki Associates about what makes a city great is a good read: The report is based on a survey of 1,000 people across the country, and asked participants what they like and do not like about their built environment in four key areas. Below are some highlights of the report:

  • Architecture

57% of respondents will stop to admire buildings that are historic; 54% agree the city they reside in should invest in renovating existing historic buildings

  • Activities

56% of respondents prefer to shop or eat more than any other outdoor activity; 46% would venture out of their neighborhood to try a new restaurant.

  • Parks and Open Space

65% remember their favorite experience being in a park or on a street; 47% say waterfront areas are their favorite open space.

  • Transportation

58% use cars most frequently; 29% use public transportation

While no two cities are the same, there are obviously elements that are translatable. Additionally, as people continue to seek out an urban experience and migrate to cities, the report helps to highlight what makes urban living appealing, namely well-crafted architecture, engaging activities and parks, memorable open spaces, and forward-looking transportation.

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