The recently completed conceptual vision for rehabilitating Calder Plaza received a Merit Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects - Michigan Chapter (MiASLA). The award recognizes exceptional landscape architectural planning.

“The community reimagined Calder Plaza in a way that honors its past but also introduces some exciting ideas to reposition the public space in a way that's more inviting for people in the future,” said Tim Kelly, vice president of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) “Receiving this award is a real honor for Downtown, our City and County partners and the numerous community members who engaged in the planning and now work toward implementing the vision.”

GR Forward revealed Grand Rapidians aspire to make the large plaza surrounding the Kent County Administrative Building, Grand Rapids City Hall and La Grande Vitesse more inviting and comfortable for people to use every day.

Thousands of Grand Rapidians helped reimagine the public space and realize the plaza’s full potential through a process facilitated by DGRI in partnership with Kent County and the City of Grand Rapids. Community conversations began in June 2016 and, after exploring several conceptual alternatives for the plaza, the City Commission received and in July 2017 formally approved the final conceptual master plan for transforming Calder Plaza into a great gathering space for Grand Rapidians.

Goals for the ongoing project include but are not limited to:

  • Establish a world class public space.
  • Improve access and mobility.
  • Activate the plaza during all seasons.
  • Provide iconic experiences for current and future generations.

MiASLA recognizes the Calder Plaza redesign for its initiative to leverage an iconic artist’s work in the creation of a significant civic open space for Grand Rapids.

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. currently is exploring the feasibility of implementing select Phase 1 improvements in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the plaza's opening in 1968.