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‘We are all about the community’: GRPM looking to become city’s newest social district

Posted at 6:14 PM, Jul 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-13 18:43:32-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The City of Grand Rapids may be getting a new social district soon, and it’ll be in an area unlike the ones downtown or in other neighborhoods.

[The Grand Rapids Public Museum] has seen such great success with some of the other social zones within the city, and we host a lot of events, both our own and rental events here at the museum, and we have beautiful grounds,” said GRPM Vice President Kate Kocianski during an interview on Tuesday. “So, as we began to think about this, we thought having a social zone here at the museum would be a really good thing for us to do. We are all about the community and being a place where we can bring the community together.”

Kocianski said if approved, then they, like most social districts, will allow patrons to walk around with alcohol on their grounds. And, they’re hoping to do partnerships with the Holiday Inn across the street.

“The museum does have a cafe and we do serve alcohol at the cafe,” Kocianski said, “but we also host a lot of evening events. So, those are things from weddings, we have receptions, different cocktail parties.”

The City of Grand Rapids believes all the social districts have been successful since they began last year. They were initially created to give restaurants more seating outdoors to help them survive the pandemic.

Richard App, who’s the City’s retailer retention and attraction specialist, said the social districts are supposed to end on Nov. 1, 2021. However, there’s been talk to extend them.

“I just was in a meeting with a captain of the downtown police department today, and he said that they’ve had very little pushback on [the social districts],” App said. “I can tell you that the restaurants love it and the other retailers do too because I think pedestrian traffic really brings out people.”

And they're fun, he said.

GRPM said they do not know when they’ll be approved. Nevertheless, they’re excited for their latest venture and hopes it'll bring more people their way.

“Anything that we can do to make the museum more welcoming to the community, we’re in for it,” Kocianski said.

RELATED: City of Grand Rapids combines, adds new social districts

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