‘Build A Better Block GR’

Posted at 5:59 PM, May 18, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– It’s called “Build A Better Block GR” and its all about re-inventing Grand Rapids. But why State street, organizers say it’s the perfect gateway or corridor into downtown.

Elizabeth Sturrts who lives nearby said “I think it’s really cool to see families out here and see just more people out enjoying it. It’s usually kind of deserted in this neighborhood and it feels like a community. It’s very exciting, I see what the future of state street could be.”

A complete transformation of State street between Madison and Jefferson, showing off the potential of a dis-used block with a few simple adjustments.

Lynee Wells one of the coordintaors with reState, said “we want to see it as thriving business block, so we attempted to evoke a sense of a full block with buildings, with people, by placing different activities throughout this corridor to experience.”

Wells and her team had the idea about a year ago, its apart of a national effort to show cities how the empty blocks can be revived through the community.

Some ideas folks in GR had? How about the “Alleway Café”, can’t go wrong with a beer garden in the heart of Beer City USA.

But it doesn’t end there “we have some building facades that we built to take up that parking lot space. We want to show you how we can utilize public spaces, spaces that are maybe just temporary in nature for permanent and long-term change.”

They even had a bike valet and repair center, even a food pod for people to stop and grab a bite to eat after doing a little shopping.

Catlyn Pisarski a vendor who made the trip from Detroit said “I thought it would be a great opportunity to travel show off my product a little bit. I think it`s a very unique and creative way to create some place making opportunity for vendors like me.”

Build A Better Block will be out again Sunday from noon to 5pm. After that you can head to their website to complete a survey and offer feedback on all the ideas.

Just head to: