The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is a funding tool Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) administers to help catalyze public and private investment in Grand Rapids’ urban core. The DDA Board of Directors met Jan. 10, 2018 and considered the following matters:

Received the Professional Audit of Fiscal Year 2017 Financials

The Board received the results of FY 2017 financial audit which determined the DDA's accounting practices and policies remain appropriate and in full compliance with generally accepted accounting principles. The audit was prepared by the accounting and consulting firm BDO.

Approved a Contract for Video Production Services

The Board approved the extension of partnership for video productions services with DropDrop Studios, a local business located Downtown in the Heartside neighborhood. The DDA and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. measure “Active Social Media Presence” as a key organizational performance indicator. This metric matters because a robust online communications platform enables the organizations to affordably reach a diverse audience with relevant information, enhance transparency and maintain a high level of customer service and community engagement.

Quality video content and motion graphics have become an important tool deployed to grow the dynamism and effectiveness of organizational communications and outreach. This content also helps to energize and amplify the organization’s social media platforms in a way that engages more people and grows audience. One result: DGRI’s social media audience in 2017 grew 24% on Twitter, 62% on Facebook and 97% on Instagram – a platform driven by engaging video content. The Board approved engaging in a contract renewal with DropDrop Studios not to exceed $49,700.

Consented to a Mixed-Use Redevelopment at 449 Bridge Street

The Board consented to Brownfield support for a proposed project to redevelop the former Red Lion site on Bridge Street. The lot and building has sat vacant for years. Developer 3 Mission Partners proposes to construct a new 5-story mixed use building on the property that includes a new restaurant on the ground floor with 44 studio and one-bedroom apartments on the upper floors. The total estimated investment is $9.5 million. The project also is supported by the West Grand Neighborhood Organization, John Ball Area Neighbors and the Westside Corridor Improvement District. The Brownfield Redevelopment Authority will review the project on January 17, 2018.

Received a Preliminary Presentation on Bike Share Feasibility

The City's Mobile GR Department presented the preliminary findings of a process to assess the feasibility of deploying a bike share system to expand mobility options for residents, workers and visitors in Grand Rapids. Bike share is a flexible, healthy and affordable transportation service the provides people the opportunity to pick-up a bicycle at a self-serve station, and return that bicycle to any other station located in the system's service area. In cities such as Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Chicago, bike share has changed how people get around the city and expanded the amount of destinations they can get to in a short amount of time.

Acting on the GR Forward recommendation to further explore bike share in Grand Rapids, the ongoing feasibility is focused on identifying local challenges and opportunities, defining key objectives and successful outcomes and assessing the range of costs and benefits associated with building any system. Based on the findings of the feasibility analysis, this process also involves developing a bike share system business plan to help inform future steps. The preliminary finding is that bike share is feasible in Grand Rapids. Mobile GR will return to the DDA in spring 2018 to present the final report and recommendations.

Received a Presentation on a New Strategy to Enhance Rosa Parks Circle

The Board received a presentation on the idea of establishing a conservancy focused exclusively on maintaining, enhancing and programming Ecliptic at Rosa Parks Circle, one of the most popular public spaces in Downtown Grand Rapids. The next steps in this effort include drafting the organizational structure, developing a business plan for the public space and defining partnership agreements with key stakeholders such as the City of Grand Rapids.