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:

I hope this note finds you well.

A quick recap of what was a monumental past week for GR Forward. Over the past eight days, we held meetings with the Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Board of Advisors, the Downtown Development Authority Board, the Monroe North Tax Increment Finance Authority Board, and the City’s Planning Commission. At each meeting we sought a recommendation to advance GR Forward to the City Commission for final approval. I'm happy to report all four bodies offered unanimous recommendations.

These collective actions, in addition to the unanimous approval of the Downtown and River Steering Committees, move GR Forward to its final stage on December 15, 2015. At that time we will present to the City Commission and seek final approval and adoption of GR Forward as an amendment to the City’s Master Plan.

Here's a sample of the media coverage:

I want to extend my sincere gratitude for everyone involved in the approvals up to this point. A plan of this magnitude only receives this type of wide support and unanimous approval by having strong and engaged leadership throughout the process. We hope some (or all) of you will join us at the meeting on December 15.

Web Numbers

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


Resiliency is a word that is being used a lot these days. Particularly in Grand Rapids, where we hope to learn in early 2016 that our community will be the recipient of federal dollars to begin implementation of GR Forward and create a more resilient city and region.

With that in mind, I found this report from the Urban Land Institute on the business case for resiliency to be interesting. While there are varying definitions for the term, the report identifies resiliency as “the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events.” It goes on to use 10 case studies to demonstrate that where resiliency is integrated into projects, the results are likely to lead to success in better financing, faster and higher lease rates, more competitive insurance premiums, lower utility costs, and greater returns on investment. While there is additional research needed before more definitive conclusions can be drawn, it is encouraging to see improved financial performance can come from introducing elements that have more widespread benefits to a community.

As always, if you have any questions please let me know. Otherwise, have a great rest of the week.