GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The City of Grand Rapids has combined its existing downtown social district commons areas – also known as “refreshment areas” - into one to streamline operations and simplify boundaries for businesses and visitors.
City commissioners authorized outdoor dining areas called social zones back in May 2020 to increase business operations for local bars and restaurants negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Since then, several social districts containing refreshment areas – overlapping with many of the social zones – have been established: downtown Grand Rapids, Wealthy Street and West Fulton.
Commissioners approved four more during their Tuesday meeting, and the new social districts are expected to be in operation by July.
The four new districts are Creston, Fourth & Stocking, Michigan Street and West Leonard.
“As COVID-19 restrictions continue to be lifted, I look forward to a great summer in West Michigan,” Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said. “I am excited to see a resurgence of downtown activity as our community enjoys outdoor dining and special events. By extending the boundaries of our refreshment areas and initiating new ones in our neighborhood business districts, we’ve created walkable areas to enjoy as we continue our return to the vibrant city life we had before the pandemic.”
Signage, maps and related materials are being updated to reflect the changes.