The Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) Board of Advisors today appointed three new Board members, approved a slate of 93 citizen leaders to help steer the organization’s work and adopted a 2019 work plan defining the Board’s key priorities.

“DGRI is a people-powered enterprise,” said President and CEO Tim Kelly. “One essential feature of our organization is that we value and include multiple diversities – of backgrounds, race, gender, age, perspectives, styles and other attributes – to advance our city building work. The Board’s action today continues to ensure we have the people and the focus to keep moving Downtown GR forward in a way consistent with the community’s vision.

DGRI is the organization responsible for place-making and place-management in the central business district of Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second largest city. The organization, established in 2013, serves as the singular management entity for the combined operations of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), the Downtown Improvement District (DID), and the Monroe North Tax Increment Finance Authority (MNTIFA).

In addition to the Mayorally-appointed boards of directors overseeing the unique operations of the DDA, DID, and MNTIFA, the Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. leadership network also includes the DGRI Board of Advisors and five separate Alliances comprised of citizen volunteers.

New members appointed to the DGRI Board of Advisors include:

  • Stephanie Adams, Executive Director, Friends of GR Parks
  • Mandy Bolter, Chair, Kent County Board of Commissioners
  • Kristian Grant, President, Grand Rapids Public School Board

The Board also appointed 93 total members to the organization’s Citizen Alliances, which effectively function as community-driven steering committees that guide DGRI’s overall body of work. The Alliances, for example, identified and prioritized 100 percent of DGRI’s discretionary investments in Fiscal Year 2019. The Alliances, organized to advance implementation of GR Forward – will begin shaping the Fiscal Year 2020 budget this spring.

DGRI Board 2019 Priorities

To help inform that budget process, the DGRI Board also approved its 2019 work plan. While the organization’s staff will continue to focus on driving improvements around its overall performance measures, and the implementation of GR Forward, the Board of Advisors in 2019 will focus their effort around three key near-term priorities:

  • Leading a community conversation that defines and recommends a governance framework to develop, manage and sustain a restored Grand River waterway through Downtown Grand Rapids.
  • Developing a corporate retention and recruitment strategy.
  • Developing a strategy to retain, recruit, promote and grow ground floor retail businesses.

The Board next meets March 22, 2019.