The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is a funding tool that Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) administers to help catalyze public and private investment in Grand Rapids’ urban core.

To maintain a high level of openness and transparency, the full recording of the live-streamed DDA Board meeting on September 13, 2023, is available on YouTube.

The Board met on this agenda and took the following action:

Grand River Greenway Agreement

The Board approved a Greenway Subgrant Agreement with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. The agreement allows the DDA to receive grant funds from DGRI for the purpose of expanding and connecting riverfront green spaces and non-motorized trail segments.

Lyon Square Funding

The board approved funding for the construction of Lyon Square. Construction will begin in fall 2023 and is expected to be completed by winter 2024. The project will include new landscaping and tree canopy, pedestrian lighting, a river overlook and canopy structure, public seating and a snowmelt system, among other entities. The project is supported by multiple partners including the City of Grand Rapids, the Amway Hotel, the Convention Arena Authority and private partners.

Funds were approved not to exceed $2,600,000.

Disability Advocates Funding Support

The Board approved funding to continue DGRI's ongoing universal design and accessibility efforts in partnership with the Disability Advocates of Kent County (DAKC). DAKC has worked directly with DGRI since 2019 developing audits, standards, event plans, Downtown and regional strategies and more to promote inclusive, universal design through the Downtown environment. This work and partnership will continue in FY 24.

Funds were approved not to exceed $100,000.

Wayfinding Project Support

The Board approved funding continue implementation of the Downtown Wayfinding project. This funding will support 12 new Downtown Wayfinding signs and associated masonry work, as well as remediation of old sign locations.

Funds were approved not to exceed $96,072.

Monroe Center Bench Replacement

The Board approved funding to replace all existing benches on Monroe Center with updated, modular benches. The work includes removal, replacement, repair and masonry necessary to accommodate the existing snowmelt system on Monroe Center, as well as the installation of the 40 new benches.

Funds were approved not to exceed $244,988.

Downtown Urban Canopy Expansion

The Board approved funding to support the remediation and replanting of 94 tree sites Downtown. Following the completion of this phase in spring 2024, approximately 325 additional trees will need to be planted Downtown to achieve the 10% canopy goal identified in the GRForward plan.

Funds were approved not to exceed $120,085.

World of Winter Projection Art Support

The Board approved funding to support three large-scale projection art installations during the World of Winter 2024 Festival. The projection installations will be located at Ah-Nab-Awen Park, under the Gillett Bridge and on the north-facing wall of the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Funds were approved not to exceed $100,000.