Community input sought on improving Downtown Grand Rapids

Posted at 7:52 PM, Mar 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-24 21:23:47-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The future and success of Downtown Grand Rapids is an ongoing discussion for community leaders. However, an effort that's been months in the planning stages was front and center before city commissioners today.

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. is welcoming any and everyone to share their thoughts on the city's future. They have an initiative called "GR Forward."

They're asking residents and other stakeholders downtown what's important to them as the city considers future growth. The group's executive director, Kristopher Larson, said "GR Forward" has been collecting information for about a year now and finds that the number of people living downtown needs to double to be vibrant.

Some of the larger parts to this are transportation, parking, and making better use of the river. So the Grand Rapids White Water Initiative is also a major component. "GR Forward" members have been presenting the results they've compiled to neighborhood groups and others, hoping to increase public input.

"It's outstanding because I think their chief thing that they want to accomplish is bringing the neighborhoods to GR so that the neighborhoods feel part of downtown," city commissioner Walt Gutowski told FOX 17.

"In the past, there's been some tension - who's getting more love, the neighborhoods or the downtown," Gutowski said it's the neighborhoods that make the city.

A community meeting is scheduled at Innovation Central High School on April 16th at 6 p.m. It's a chance for any and everyone to give input.