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[EASTOWN] Eastowners Meet, Greet and Eat

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/Lee Hardy

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Access writer, Lee Hardy

Eastown neighbors gathered on a cold winter night at Wolfgang’s for an evening of information, festivities, Yesterdog hot dogs and, yes, a little business of the Eastown Community Association. The annual membership meeting of the ECA took place Tuesday night, February 8, on the fabled corner of Lake and Wealthy.

On the business end of things, five ECA board members were elected: Sarah Mier, Pamela Goderski, Tony Martin, Jeff Avink, and Stacy Feyer. The slate of five candidates for five board positions was voted in by enthusiastic voice acclamation.

ECA President Chad Sytsma gave his State of the Neighborhood address. Eastown is unique, diverse and stable, he reported. The Eastown business district is home to more than 100 businesses—and this past year added 10 more. In the coming spring the Eastown Veterinary Clinic and Harmony Brewing Company will join them. After taking a hit during the recession, home values are beginning to climb again, and the demand for houses in Eastown is fast overtaking supply.

Officer Jeremy Huffman reported that in all major categories except home burglary, crime in Eastown has gone down. The rise in home burglaries reflects a nationwide trend. Home electronics—especially flatscreen TVs—are hot this season.

Clarence Hogeterp, owner of Redux Books—“the best nonprofit bookstore in the nation”—spoke a word of remembrance for Ron Hoort, owner of Elders Helpers. A well-known figure in Grand Rapids neighborhoods, Ron died of cancer this winter.

The ECA presented retiring board member Pamela Benjamin with a special bouquet of flowers in appreciation for her service to the association and the neighborhood.

Generous business owners in Eastown donated items for a raffle. Jaye Van Lenten won a $20 gift certificate to her own store, Spirit Dreams (but graciously allowed another ticket to be drawn for that prize). Sean Murray, of the Grand Rapids Fire Department, won the “Mug of Destiny”—the first official mug membership for Harmony Brewing Company, presented by Barry Van Dyke of Bear Manor Properties.

The parting words from President Chad Sytsma are worth repeating here: Sign up for the ECA eNews, turn on your porch light and get to know your neighbors.

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