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 Friday Everyone:

Hope you are all finishing up a great week.

This week we continued our presentations of the draft GR Forward plan around the community. Below is a list of groups we met with, and we appreciate all the feedback we have received to date. As always, please let me know if you have additional ideas for groups that we can meet with.

  • Chamber of Commerce Emerging Leaders

For those of you that have not had a chance to review the plan, a reminder that you can find it on the project page for the DGRI website.

Next week we are looking forward to meeting with the City Commission on Tuesday at 11a, when we will offer a recommendation to the Commission to approve the release of the draft plan for public comment and the start of the official review period. To provide further opportunities for engagement, and to facilitate review of the draft plan, additional public outreach will be conducted during the public comment period. Our project team is working with community leaders to identify these opportunities, which will include, but are not limited to, exhibits at public libraries, a community open house, and meetings with neighborhood and community organizations. Please let me know if you have any ideas for events or activities that we can participate in. Once all of our activities are identified, I will send out a full schedule of dates and opportunities so that all of you are aware of the engagement opportunities..

Web Numbers

The latest web and social media numbers are below. Be sure to continue to share the links below in your network so everyone can stay up to date with our GR Forward activities.


I enjoyed this article from the Washington Post on some of the thinking going on around ways to use data to track development.

As the article discusses, in neighborhoods undergoing rapid change, there is often a deep gulf between what people see (i.e cranes in the sky) and what is really happening.

To correct for this issue, a group of tech companies, in partnership with a handful of pilot cities, is looking to utilize the information available from building permits to better inform citizens about development in their city. The goal is to create a location-aware app that could call up the details of a construction site as easily as sites like Redfin can show you the nearest for-sale home.

The best existing example of this comes from the City of Seattle, which has a platform in place tracking development projects, and showing the project timeline, images, and other public documents. Here is a link to the website:

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