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 met on Oct. 11, 2017 and took action on the following measures:
Approved Grant to Enhance Storefronts at 53-57 Monroe Center
The Board approved a Downtown Enhancement Grant to assist Belford Development's work of renovating the retail storefronts at 53-57 Monroe Center. The construction project will result in better continuity and appearance across the two different storefronts - one at Grand Central Market which recently added a sit-down restaurant and the other a currently vacant retail space set to become a new wine bar. Work will begin this fall and be completed by the end of the year. The Board approved a grant not to exceed $32,616. The total cost of the project is an estimated $65,000.
Approved Funding to Design Pedestrian Safety Improvements
The Board authorized funding not to exceed $15,000 to complete design work for pedestrian and bicycling safety enhancement at several locations around Downtown as recommended by GR Forward.
Working in partnership with the City of Grand Rapids, DGRI will study potential improvements at four key intersections:
- Fulton & Ottawa
- Fulton & Ionia
- Fulton & Market/Monroe
- Monroe and Campau
Specific improvements currently under evaluation include but are not limited to the installation of pedestrian medians, changes to crosswalk infrastructure and a pedestrian scramble. A pedestrian scramble features a full stop to all automobile traffic while allowing pedestrians to safely cross in any and all directions across an intersection.
The project also includes designing a protected bike lane - the first in Grand Rapids - along Division Avenue.
The partners expect to develop the design during the winter and, depending on cost, implement select improvements in Summer 2018.
Approved Contract to Update Streetscape Design Guidelines
The Board authorized Executive Director Kris Larson to enter into a contract with two local firms - Nederveld and William & Works - to update the Downtown Street Design Guidelines. The current guidelines were developed in 2006 and must be updated to reflect the community vision expressed via GR Forward.
The Design Guidelines essentially serve as the "playbook" for how to build and rebuild streets that enhance Downtown's character, mobility and quality of life. The total cost of the project is not to exceed $93,450. The DDA will contribute $74,760 (80 percent) and the Monroe North Tax Increment Finance Authority will contribute the remaining 20 percent of the cost.