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 July 10, 2019, and took the following action:
Authorized Funding to Build New Crosswalks on Michigan and Bridge Streets
The DDA Board approved funding to construct two new crosswalks that will connect the Grand River trail across Michigan and Bridge Streets and make the area significantly safer for people who walk.
On the east side of the river (Michigan Street) the new crosswalk will include:
- New center median and pedestrian refuge area with a rolled curb and gutter.
- Movable planters placed in the center median.
- Right turn lane adjustments on the north side of the street to expand the sidewalk space, narrow the street width and slow traffic.
- The wider sidewalk on the north side provides room for raised planters, new street trees, and landscaping.
- New accessible curb ramps on the north and south side, connected by a white continental crosswalk.
On the west side of the river (Bridge Street) the new crosswalk will include:
- New accessible curb ramps on the north and south side connected by a white continental crosswalk.
The new facilities, designed in collaboration with the City of Grand Rapids, advance on the community’s goal of achieving a stress-free experience for people of all ages and abilities using Downtown sidewalks. These goals - and these interventions on Michigan and Bridge Streets - were specifically captured in the GR Forward investment strategy for Downtown and the River for All Design Guidelines.
The DDA is the sole funder of the project and the Board approved funding not to exceed $410,000 to build the improvements. They also approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the City to ensure the new infrastructure is well maintained. Construction is anticipated to begin in late August 2019.
Approved Funds to Help Establish Mosby’s Popcorn in Downtown Grand Rapids
The DDA Board approved retail incubation and other funds to support the establishment of a Mosby’s Popcorn retail storefront in Downtown Grand Rapids.
Mosby’s Popcorn is a highly creative food business owned and founded by husband and wife entrepreneurial team Brian and Shavyea Mosby. Their family business currently operates out of a space in the City of Kentwood, but they have nurtured a growing customer based in Downtown GR through such events as Movies on Monroe, ArtPrize, and LaughFest.
Their goal is to establish their gourmet popcorn business - which currently features more than 125 unique flavors of popcorn - in a more permanent location in Downtown Grand Rapids.
The Retail Incubation Program, launched in 2018, is designed to help advance on numerous Downtown goals, including:
- Supporting entrepreneurship and small business growth
- Supporting the activation of vacant retail space.
- Diversifying the mix of Downtown retail offerings
The program, established in 2018, supports creative strategies and partnerships that effectively and measurably advance on the community’s goal of growing a thriving Downtown retail market. Past recipients of funding include Tamales Mary and Ambiance GR Kitchen & Lounge, which is currently under construction.
The DDA Board approved funding for Mosby’s Popcorn not to exceed $45,000. Mosby’s anticipates renovation on their new space at 15 Ionia - currently vacant - will begin later this summer or early fall.