The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is a funding tool Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) administers to help catalyze public and private investment in Grand Rapids’ urban core. The DDA Board of Directors today took action on the following measures:

Adopted the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget

The Board formally adopted the DDA's Fiscal Year 2018 Budget and 5-year Priority Plan. The approximately $12.5 million directs 95 percent of planned DDA expenditures to advance implementation of GR Forward, the community plan of action to transform the Grand River into a distinct amenity and support the next generation of growth in Downtown Grand Rapids. Citizens, working through DGRI's participatory budget process, identified and prioritized 99 percent of the approximately $9.9 million in proposed discretionary investments.

Funding for Lyon Square Design Development

The Board authorized $370,000 to develop a preliminary design for the reconstruction of Lyon Square, the public park situated on the edge of the Grand River between the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and DeVos Place Convention Center. The goal of the design process is to replace the tired and underutilized amphitheater with a new public park that enhances flood protection for Downtown, expands public access to the river, strengthens riverfront trail connectivity and provides a more welcoming place for people to enjoy. At the river's edge, Lyon Square also will be designed in close coordination with Grand Rapids Whitewater and the work to restore the rapids in the Grand River. The project is identified as a priority in numerous community plans including GR Forward, the recently approved City of Grand Rapids Parks & Recreation Master Plan and the Destination Asset Study recently conducted by Grand Action and Experience Grand Rapids.

Supported a Property Tax Exemption to Redevelop 840 Ottawa Ave. NW

The Board supported an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Exemption Certificate for the redevelopment of a long vacant building at 840 Ottawa Avenue NW in the Monroe North neighborhood. The applicant requested a 10-year exemption on real property taxes to help facilitate the redevelopment of the building and ultimately the relocation of Integrated Architects to Downtown Grand Rapids. The estimated total investment in the project is approximately $2 million and, when finished, will result in 50 new workers in the neighborhood. The Grand Rapids City Commission will consider the exemption request in July.

Recommended Approval of Liquor License for Proposed Restaurant at 118 East Fulton

The Board recommended approval of a liquor license for a yet-to-be-named Mexican restaurant at 118 East Fulton in the former Brian's Books storefront. Issuing the liquor license, the Board determined, will support economic growth along East Fulton in a manner consistent with adopted goals, plans or policies of the district. Once open, the new restaurant will employ multiple full- and part-time emplyees. The restaurant and bar to feature fine dining Mexican cuisine. The Grand Rapids City Commission in July will consider approving the liquor license.