GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Popular social district zones in Grand Rapids are going away after the city decided to eliminate four from the downtown area.
The city incorporated seven social district zones during the height of the pandemic. The zones gave around 60 businesses the ability to sell alcoholic drinks in those areas.
"So, it was a really a boon for us because it doesn't take a whole lot to serve everywhere and everyone on the sidewalk," Tony Kisscorni told FOX 17.
These zones allowed Stella's to serve people so they could drink and eat outside.
"They would come inside and get a special cup…and come out here and sit out here with no problem," Kisscorni said.
Now, commissioners have moved forward to cut Ah-Nab-Awen Park, DeVos Place, Calder Plaza, and Rosa Parks Circle from the list.
"So, carving out those four areas out of the downtown district helps to make those events viable," Grand Rapids Chief of Staff Lou Canfield said.
He says that events have picked up, adding that the Michigan Liquor Control Commission cited the now-eliminated zones were preventing events from selling alcohol there, something this change will now fix.
"A big part of that is downtown activation, and Grand Rapids is and aspires to be even more of a four-season-outdoor city, and of course, having people able to attend a special event or enjoy a beverage outdoors in a social district is part of that," Canfield said.
Meanwhile, Stella's can still continue to sell within its downtown zone.
They have plans in the works to make the area around the restaurant ready for the winter.
"I think this week or next week we will have the patio back up with heaters," Kisscorni said.
There's a house bill that would eliminate conflicts with events and social zones. The city says it would look into re-adding some or all of the four locations into the downtown social district.