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 Afternoon Everyone,

It is another beautiful Friday, so I will keep your update brief.

On the heels of our action packed schedule last week, this week we devoted much of our time to mapping out the remaining schedule for the GR Forward process. Given the great feedback we received at the second public forum on April 16, we are excited to start putting together a draft plan which will be available in the next month or so. Much work remains between now and then, but it will be exciting to share all of the great work that has happened over the past year with the community.


In addition to outlining the remaining schedule, we also found time this week to meet with our friends from BLEND. Our presentations will continue next week with the Grand Rapids Initiative for Leaders (GRIL). Again, if anyone has suggestions for meetings that we can attend please let me know.

Web Numbers

The latest web and social media numbers are below. Be sure to share the links below so that everyone can stay up to date with GR Forward activities. Also, for anyone that was not able to make the public forum last week, note that presentation is now available on the website.


Two resources for you this week. First, this article from The Atlantic on what makes successful Downtown’s is interesting and provides some good perspective on conversations we have been having through GR Forward. Not only does it provide reinforcement for the importance of deliberate long-term planning, but it also underscores the primary element to building a sustainable downtown is attracting and retaining residents. “On this final point: yes, in every place we've been, every one we've talked with about downtown recovery stresses the crucial importance of getting people to live there”

Additionally, this article from USA Today on 10 parks that have helped revived cities provides some great examples on the power of great urban open spaces. It touches on the importance of public-private partnerships, and also highlights how programming is typically much different than previous generations of parks. Whether it’s the Highline in New York, or Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, WA, these spaces place an emphasis on interaction, recreation, and amenities, including food. All 10 of the parks are great models to analyze as we think about the future of open spaces in Grand Rapids.

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