Outdoor Movies? Big Plans To Keep Grand Rapids Standing Out From Competition

Posted at 10:37 PM, Jun 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-11 22:37:00-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Big plans are in the works along the Grand River in Downtown Grand Rapids.

On Wednesday the Downtown Development Authority will decide whether a giant portable movie screen would be a good fit for the city.

A movie screen along the Grand River is just $55,000 and a vote away from becoming the latest headline for a downtown area that has seen a few national headlines lately.

Greg Sundstrom, the city manager for Grand Rapids said that doesn’t happen by accident, “What we do exceptionally well here is work together and design.”

Forbes magazine just named Grand Rapids along with Wyoming as the third best place for summer employment in 2013.  And it wasn’t long ago that Grand Rapids was named ‘Beer City USA’.  But are these accolades worth anything or just bragging rights?

“Competition is so fierce across the globe, the only way we stay ahead and be a world class city is by people stepping up and getting involved,” said Sundstrom.

The city also just wrapped up a festival of the arts weekend.   The event drew tens of the thousands downtown.  It’s just a precursor to an event in Artprize, which put Grand Rapids on the cultural destination map.

The city manager said the continued success of the city will depend on big dreams.

“Where else can ordinary citizens have a crazy idea and take a leadership role in the community and make it happen,” he said.

In addition to an outdoor movie theater, the DDA is also considering long-term plans of a dog park and skate park in the downtown area.