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 met August 8, 2018 and took the following action:

Revised the Downtown Ambassadors Contract

The Board approved a $.50/hour raise for the Downtown Ambassador team in Fiscal Year 2019. The move aims to recognize - and continue to appropriately value - the important work the Ambassadors do daily to keep Downtown clean, beautiful and friendly. The Downtown Ambassador program launched in September 2013 and the team quickly established themselves as the go-to helping hands Downtown, providing a wide range of public services from assisting stranded motorists to landscaping to trash and recycling removal. Click here to review their annual performance reports.

Approved Downtown Enhancement Grant for 351 Summer Avenue

The Board approved a Downtown Enhancement Grant to support building improvements at 351 Summer Avenue . The grant will support exterior work to accommodate a new Downtown retail business and include new windows, lighting, paint, awnings and improved ingress and egress. Currently a vacant space, the building will house retailer Vintage Furniture after the renovation. The work is scheduled to begin Fall 2018. The DDA Board approved a contribution not to exceed $25,000.

Supported Design Work for Phase 1 Calder Plaza Improvements

The Board authorized the DDA Executive Director to enter into a contract with local firm Progressive AE to design the first phase of permanent improvements on Calder Plaza. Phase 1 improvements will include a pavilion equipped with an outdoor stage , a cafe space and additional planting and greenery enhancements all at the southeast corner of the plaza . The DDA approved funding not to exceed $213,180 to advance this stage of work. The DDA's goal is to complete the designs, bid the work and break ground on the improvements in conjunction with the 50th anniversary celebration of the installation of the Calder sculpture - La Grande Vitesse - in June 2019. Click here for more information on the community effort to reimagine Calder Plaza.

Supported Holiday Lighting Contract

The Board approved funding to light up Downtown for the winter holiday season. The DDA traditionally installs tree lighting and decor pieces along Monroe Center, Rosa Parks Circle, Louis Campau Promenade and other strategic Downtown locations. The 2018 installation will include expanding to Ah-Nab-Awen Park and other key enhancements. The Board authorized $60,000 for provision, installation, take-down and storage of the decorations.