Citizens play an important role in the health and spirit of a community. With a steadily growing population of people living Downtown, residents increasingly seek new and more opportunities to connect with neighbors, share information, discuss key issues and ultimately build community across Downtown.
This movement among interested residential stakeholders - both homeowners and renters - is new in Downtown, as the "neighborhood" has essentially served as 9-to-5 business district with few residents since the mid-1900s.
Today, the neighborhood counts ~5,000 residents - a population anticipated to double in the next decade.
The Downtown Neighbor Network (DNN)'s purpose is to provide a forum to socialize, organize, and ultimately deepen citizen engagement in building/promoting a high-quality residential life in Downtown GR
This page includes information and updates about the startup organizing of the Downtown Neighbor Network.
Interested to learn more and/or get involved? Drop an email to DGRI's Manager of Neighbor Experience Annamarie Buller.
Downtown Neighbor Network Advisory Committee
An advisory group of Downtown and near-Downtown neighbors work together to organize the activities of the DNN. Current members include:
- Wilma Banks, 26 Cherry Street
- Bill Coyne, The Rowe
- Laurie Craft, The Riverhouse
- Michael Dorney, Heritage Hill
- Daniel Drent, Ferguson Apartments
- Latesha Lipscomb, Division Avenue Park Place
- Kelli Jo Peltier, Plaza Towers
- Jane Reynolds, The Fitzgerald
- Olivia Ross, The Rowe
- Amy Skentzos, McKay Tower
- Kathy Stenindler, City View
- Eddie Tadlock, The Fitzgerald
- Mark Tagen, The Lofts
- Drew Terwee, 49 Monroe Center
- Robert VanDriel, McKay Tower
- Christopher Billmeier, Regency Flats
- Myric Harris, Waters Building Apartments
Advisory Committee Meetings
This section includes the meeting dates, times and agenda packets for DNN Advisory Group meetings.
All meetings happen from 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM at the office of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., 29 Pearl Street NW, Suite 1, unless otherwise noted.
- December 5, 2019
- November 7, 2019
- October 3, 2019
- September 5, 2019
- August 1, 2019
- July 11, 2019
- June 6, 2019 (Click here for agenda packet)
- May 2, 2019 (Click here for agenda packet)
- April 4, 2019 (Click here for agenda packet)
- March 7, 2019 (Click for agenda packet)
Starting Up the Neighbor Network
The GR Forward plan of action identified the goal to create a downtown neighborhood that is home to a diverse population. To that end, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) looks to support initiatives that improve Downtown living for existing residents and attract new residents.
GR Forward specifically identifies the opportunity to establish a downtown resident council. To explore this idea further, an ad-hoc steering committee of Downtown residents (PDF) formed in early 2018 to explore the creation of a formal organization that would convene and represent Downtown neighbors.
The steering committee was intentionally constituted to represent various viewpoints and perspectives on the unique challenges and opportunities of living in or near downtown Grand Rapids. The group conducted an extensive “data dive” to better understand who was living in downtown, what groups currently (or potentially) exist in and near downtown, what concerns residents have, how is downtown changing, and what type of organization might be the best fit to represent the unique voice of downtown living.
Click here to read the outcome of that process (PDF) and the group's draft recommendation on the Downtown Neighbor Network's mission, vision, guiding principles and scope of work.
Additional Background Information
The process of exploring a Downtown resident organization was supported by original research, a community survey, mapping and other relevant information essential to a thorough understanding of and dialogue about trends, needs, challenges and opportunities. This section includes this background info and data.
Past Downtown Neighbor Events
Prior to organizing the Downtown Neighbor Network, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc worked closely with residents to organize regular forums for neighbor socializing, learning and engagement. Here's a sampling of those community events.
- Yappy Hour at the Downtown Dog Park GR (May 2019)
- Holiday Happy Hour (December 1, 2018)
- Mix, Mingle & Share (April 25, 2018) Click here to view the presentation on Downtown Neighbor Network organizing. (PDF)
- Bike Share Focus Group (October 25, 2017) Click here to view the presentation. (PDF)
- An Evening with Downtown Developers (September 6, 2017)
- Mix, Mingle & Share (April 26, 2017)
- Snow Days Sneak Peek (February 9, 2017)
- Park Plans Moving Forward (November 9, 2016)
- Downtown Transportation Changes (August 6, 2016)
- Mix, Mingle & Share (May 3, 2016)