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Grand Rapids City Commission approves new social district for West Fulton

west fulton social district.jpg
Posted at 10:40 AM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 10:40:03-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids’ newest social zone will soon be coming to Fulton Street.

The City Commission approved on Tuesday the new West Fulton Social District on the 1100 block of Fulton Street W between Marion and Garfield avenues NW.

Expected to be operational next month, the district will allow Joey’s Tavern and Putt Putt’s Bar to sell alcohol in specially labeled cups within the social district boundaries.

Downtown Grand Rapids and Wealthy Street already have social districts, which were established to help restaurants and bars survive the economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Capacity limits continue to impact these businesses, and even as the vaccination rate increases, demand for outdoor dining is expected to remain high because of warmer weather and health concerns.

“Restaurants and bars, which have been key contributors to the vitality of downtown and neighborhood business districts have been, and continue to be, hard-hit by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 safety protocols,” said Lou Canfield, chief of staff in the executive office, during Tuesday’s City Commission meeting. “As we’ve seen in the other two districts, increasing the availability of outdoor dining space will help this neighborhood business district recover from this pandemic.”

The West Fulton Business Association worked with the city to propose two seating areas in this district.

One will be set up along the street parking area in front of the McDonald’s at 1130 Fulton St. W, and another small one along the street parking area in front of Joey’s Tavern, located at 1125 Fulton St. W.

Cement barricades will form the boundary of both seating areas.

Officials say existing lanes of traffic will not be impacted.

The City Commission will review the status of the social district before Dec. 31 to ensure the commons areas are maintained and to review any impact the social district has had on public health, safety and welfare in the neighborhood.