The Rapidian

GoSite celebrates Grand Opening

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and daylong celebration introduced the new welcome center to the community.
GoSite Ribbon-Cutting. Pictured L to R: Kris Larson, Steve Wilson, Deb Bailey, Dana Friis-Hansen, Kerri VanderHoff, Doug Small

GoSite Ribbon-Cutting. Pictured L to R: Kris Larson, Steve Wilson, Deb Bailey, Dana Friis-Hansen, Kerri VanderHoff, Doug Small /Courtesy GoSite/GRAM

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Phone number: 616-438-0600

Guests mingling before GoSite Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony begins

Guests mingling before GoSite Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony begins /Courtesy GoSite/GRAM

GoSite staff are ready to help you explore Grand Rapids!

GoSite staff are ready to help you explore Grand Rapids! /Courtesy GoSite/GRAM

The GoSite Information Sharing Space, a 21st century welcome center for locals and tourists alike, celebrated its official ribbon-cutting on Tuesday, March 31, 2015, followed by an all day Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday, April 4, 2015.

The launch of the permanent GoSite space is the result of many community meetings, pilot programs for visitor feedback and numerous public, private and nonprofit organizations working together to create a welcome and inclusive place in the center of Grand Rapids. More information on the project history can be found here.

The morning ribbon-cutting ceremony included coffee and pastries. About 75 people from the many organizations involved attended the ceremony, and the spirit of collaboration and commitment to Grand Rapids filled the air. This was also an opportunity for the media to get a sneak peek and interview the participants prior to the Grand Opening Celebration Day.

GoSite Director Kerri VanderHoff called the room to attention and introduced the Director and CEO of the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Dana Friis-Hansen, to begin the official ceremony. GRAM is the lead organizer of the GoSite, which is located in the front northwest corner of the art museum, adjacent to Rosa Parks Circle.

“Last year, GRAM refreshed our Statement of Purpose and Strategic Plan,” said Friis-Hansen. “Our vision is to be a cultural beacon and a civic anchor. One important component is to connect beyond our walls, to be a community convener…a platform for diverse experiences, ideas and dialogue. The GoSite collaboration is a key part of this vision.”

Friis-Hansen then introduced the leaders of major Coalition Partners involved in the GoSite to also say a few words: Doug Small, president and CEO of Experience Grand Rapids, and Kris Larson, President of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. The Director of Global Corporate Relations for Steelcase Inc., Deb Bailey, was also part of the ceremony as a representative of the company that provided furniture and design assistance for the GoSite. Each spoke passionately of commitment to collaboration and community.

The foundations providing launch support—Wege, Dyer-Ives, and Frey—had representatives in attendance. Steve Wilson, president of the Frey Foundation, said a few words regarding their grant award for the project. The Frey Foundation has been involved in numerous initiatives creating positive growth for the city, including support of renowned artist Maya Lin’s "Ecliptic" at Rosa Parks Circle.

“The art of city design and the art of collaboration are things that Grand Rapids does very well,” says Wilson. “I am excited to see the distinctive design of this new center, its technology and use of video and the internet—yet I am also deeply pleased to know that the central purpose of GoSite is to personally greet visitors with a warm smile, answer their questions and get them pointed in the right direction. There’s no substitution for a personal greeting and GoSite guarantees that.”

While the ribbon-cutting ceremony was short and sweet, the Grand Opening Celebration was a daylong event, from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and filled with activities, performances, prizes and giveaways.

Several people who participated that day followed up with thank you cards and emails indicating how much fun they had, and how welcoming and useful they found the GoSite.

“What an enjoyable time my family had on Saturday at the GoSite,” wrote visitor Linda Snow. “Our daughter and family from Traverse City were in town and we made a stop at the new center. Playing trivia and the scavenger hunt were fun for all ages. We also returned for the architectural tour – very enjoyable…The GoSite is a wonderful addition for visitors to Grand Rapids.”

 

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