Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Planning Manager Tim Kelly emails a weekly GR Forward update to the project Steering Committee. Here's this week's communication:

Happy October Everyone:

I hope you have all had a tremendous week and are continuing to enjoy Art Prize.


Much of our ongoing work surrounds preparations for the upcoming Open House. As previously mentioned, the Open House will be located at 50 Louis St NW in the vacant retail space next to Start Garden. The space will be programmed with a variety of activities and exhibits, all designed to inform people about GR Forward, and to gather feedback on important elements of our efforts. While the type of activities and installations is still being finalized, I can tell you that the opening event will take place on Friday, October 17 from 4 – 8p. A more formal invite will follow shortly, and I hope all of you are able to stop in at some point during that evening.


While the Open House is an important part of the engagement efforts, it is by no means the only work being done. To make sure we are getting the word out as much as possible, over the course of the fall and early winter we are scheduling more than 100 meetings to interact with the community and let them know how they can be involved in the process. We are asking for meetings with all of the City’s neighborhood groups, business associations, boards, and commissions. Additionally, we are also asking our regional and institutional partners to allow us to present to their boards and commissions. Below are the groups we met with this week, and look for that list to start growing significantly over the next few weeks. Again, if anyone has suggestions for meetings that we can attend, please let me know.

  • Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Board of Advisors
  • Parks and Recreation Advisory Board

Web Numbers

Related to our online presence, there was a big jump in website views this week. Our social media followings continue to grow, though at a much slower pace. Our expectation is the Open House will drive further traffic to those mediums. As always, be sure to share the links below with anyone that might be interested so we can continue to promote GR Forward.

Facebook -

Twitter -

Instagram -

Website Views

Facebook Likes

Instagram Followers

Twitter Followers

8,703 (+843)

419 (+4)

110 (+5)

89 (+1)


I love this article from Wired on simple interventions that can make cities more pedestrian friendly:

The interventions that are outlined range from things that can be integrated into a zoning code (i.e. Orient buildings to the streets), to those that draw people to public spaces (i.e. Organize uses to support public activity). As the article says, small-scale efforts can make a big a big difference, and the benefit for cities is that it provides people with a healthier, more accessible environment. This is a subject we discuss frequently as it relates to Downtown, and I look forward to identifying elements that are applicable to us that can be integrated into GR Forward.

For anyone that is interested, the full report the article is based on can be found here:

As always, if you have any questions please let me know. Otherwise, stay dry, and have a great weekend.