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Community Updates: Friday, June 16

Grand Rapids City Commission hosts "Commission Night Out" meeting in GR's Third Ward; City of Grand Rapids seeking proposal submissions for next three Participatory Budgeting Grand Rapids projects; and more
The Blue Bridge, the Grand River, and the buildings of downtown Grand Rapids peeking out from behind the trees

The Blue Bridge, the Grand River, and the buildings of downtown Grand Rapids peeking out from behind the trees /John Rothwell

Grand Rapids City Commission Hosts "Commission Night Out" Meeting in GR's Third Ward

On Tuesday, the Grand Rapids City Commission was at the Gerald R. Ford Academic Center (in the Third Ward) for the second Commission Night Out meeting of the year.

The meeting began with a moment of silence, the Pledge of Allegiance, and roll-call. First Ward Commissioner Drew Robbins was not in attendance at this meeting due to "mandated military service." Doug Matthews, the Assistant City Manager, then gave a short presentation about aspects of the recently approved FY2024 Budget that impact the Third Ward (including investments in community and economic development, parks & recreation, water, Mobile GR, public safety, and other projects and programs).

After a brief engagement session, during which attendees had an opportunity to speak with City staff from various City departments, the meeting was opened up for public comment. Residents took the podium to discuss a number of issues ranging from sustainability to public safety. There were also numerous individuals who spoke both for and against a proposed addition to the City's maintenance code, which would require "dust screening for lead-based paint in residential rental properties initially constructed before 1978." 

Once the public comment section of the meeting was concluded, the City Commission conducted the rest of the business on its agenda.

Near the end of the meeting, a public hearing session was held to get resident input on a Brownfield Plan Amendment for a redevelopment project located on the City's southeast side (Garden Street and Jefferson Avenue). According to the City's website, this project will create a professional workspace for local nonprofit Next Step of West Michigan, as well as a number of studio ("tiny home"), one-bedroom, and three-bedroom residential units. The City's website also states that the two three-bedroom units "will be managed by Mel Trotter for transitional housing for households that are engaged in programming provided by the organization," while the other units "will be utilized as workforce housing to be occupied primarily by individuals participating in Next Step and Mel Trotter's workforce development programs."

Though some residents expressed concerns about potential noise pollution within the residential units due to their proximity to the nearby railroad, that appeared to be the biggest issue people had with the development.

To watch the Commission Night Out meeting in its entirety, visit the City of Grand Rapids' YouTube channel or watch below:

The next Commission Night Out meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, September 19 at 7:00pm. The location has not been announced. 


City of Grand Rapids Seeking Proposal Submissions for Next Three Participatory Budgeting Grand Rapids Projects

Last year, the Participatory Budgeting Grand Rapids (PBGR) initiative held a public, city-wide vote to decide how $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds should be spent within each of the City's three wards. The funding, which was allocated into $600,000 for the First Ward, $400,000 for the Second Ward, and $1,000,000 for the Third Ward, was broken down to "[help] address historical disparities across the wards."

Twelve projects ultimately made the final cut and were approved by the Grand Rapids City Commission near the end of 2022.  

In March, the City of Grand Rapids sent out requests for proposals for the first three PBGR projects in the First Ward. Submissions for the first round closed on March 31. Now, as of Wednesday, the City of Grand Rapids has sent out requests for proposals for the next three projects: 

  • Youth Affordable Housing & Support Initiative (First, Third Wards)
  • Supporting Victims of Domestic Violence Program (First Ward)
  • Community Support & Beautification Initiative (First Ward)

Proposals for the second round of PBGR projects must be submitted to the City by 11:59pm on Friday, August 4.

For more information about the RFP process and what the City is looking for in these proposals, visit the PBGR website


Also in the News:


  • Due to the continued lack of substantial rain in Grand Rapids (and beyond), the Grand Rapids Forestry division is reminding residents that their trees will need additional watering. For more information, visit the City's website.    


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