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Plan proposes new life for historic stairs in Belknap Neighborhood

Posted at 10:30 PM, Nov 08, 2015

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It's hard not to notice them while driving by, but the 'Lookout stairs' in the Belknap neighborhood are a tough climb.  It's not just because they're steep, but because of their current condition.

The stairs were built back in the 1930's and were used to connect Belknap Lookout Park and residential homes to the business district down below on North Monroe.  These historic stairs are one of two in the area.  Neighbors say the newer case sees a lot of foot traffic, adding that it gives them even more of a reason to push for renovations of the older ones.

Neighbors in the Belknap Neighborhood say they've been pushing for change for years and that these stairs are a valuable, unique asset for the community.

Recently, 'GR Forward' released a proposed plan to get things moving.  On the agenda is creating a safer connection between the Belknap neighborhood and the business district.  They released photos of what they would like the street below the 'Lookout stairs' to look like.

Rendering of proposed plan.

Rendering of proposed plan.

The proposed plan still has a long way to go, but neighbors say it's a step in the right direction. Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and 'GR Forward' will be submitting the plan for formal approval.  The City Commission will then make the final decision on whether these stairs will become part of the city master plan in December of 2015.