The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Board of Directors today took the following action:

Recommended Liquor License for Downtown Market

The DDA Board supported approval of a liquor license for Grand Rapids Downtown Market, Inc. The license, if approved by the City Commission, would allow liquor in the Market’s community event space and other common areas. The license will not apply to individual tenants or other operators within the market facility. Any tenants that seek to sell alcohol in the Market facility must apply for a separate proprietor’s license. The public market is scheduled to open spring 2013.

Awarded Challenge Grant to Build a Better Block Initiative

The DDA Board approved a grant not to exceed $15,000 in support of a 2-day demonstration of ideas and best practices to revitalize State Street. The Build a Better Block: re:State project will deploy temporary interventions such as pop-up shops, patio dining, and other trial placemaking ideas to explore and showcase new potential ways of promoting greater urbanity and economic activity in the underperforming State Street commercial corridor. The event organizers will report the success of various interventions, as well as the community’s experience, to the DDA, which includes the eventual rehabilitation of the State Street streetscape in its priority plan. The DDA grant is expected to cover approximately 50 percent of the project cost. More information on the national Build a Better Block movement is available at

Reimbursed the County for Payments on DeVos Place Bonds

Pursuant to the original financial arrangements for the construction of DeVos Place, the DDA Board agreed to reimburse Kent County for payments made on the debt service of the convention center. The move effectively refinances the loans on the facility which, at current rates, is expected to save approximately $46,000 per year for both the DDA and Kent County.

Identified South Arena Visioning Project Committee Members

The DDA Board approved a roster of proposed stakeholders to populate the steering committee of the Arena South Visioning Project, an initiative to define a common community vision and plan of action for the redevelopment of the publicly owned property at the epicenter of the Heartside neighborhood. The 13-member committee will include a diverse mix of representation from the neighborhood’s business, nonprofit, government, educational, and entertainment sectors. The broader community will be invited to participate in a series of visioning and planning events beginning in March.

Approved Funds to Analyze Maintenance Scenarios for Sidewalk Snow Melt System

The DDA Board allocated $30,000 to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the options for action to rehabilitate, maintain, and improve the 15-year-old Monroe Center sidewalk snow melt system. The findings of the evaluation, anticipated to be presented in May 2013, will inform future planning for and decisions about potential capital investment in the system. The DDA also intends to develop an up-to-date Asset Management Plan to guide proper long-term preventative maintenance of the aging system.

Approved Building Reuse Incentives for Three Businesses

The DDA Board approved financial incentives to improve the accessibility of three downtown businesses. The Building Reuse Incentive Program will provide up to $61,600 to Lifestyle Kitchen Studios for barrier free access to, and ADA compliant restrooms in, 222 E. Fulton. The total cost of the property improvement is an estimated $150,000. The Program also will provide a $12,825 to support renovation of the entry to Gina’s and Lia Rose. The two Monroe Center boutiques currently share a common entry. The estimated $17,000 renovation will result in two separate storefront entryways, as well as greater access to and visibility of the two businesses.