The Rapidian

GoSite reveals ribbon cutting, grand opening dates

After much planning and community involvement, the new information sharing space opens in downtown Grand Rapids, with a ribbon cutting ceremony on the morning of March 31 and Grand Opening on April 4.
GoSite at the GRAM

GoSite at the GRAM /Courtesy of GoSite/Designvox

Underwriting support from:
GoSite Director Kerri VanderHoff

GoSite Director Kerri VanderHoff /Courtesy of GoSite/GRAM

 Volunteers and staff provided a warm welcome for visitors during the Pop Up

Volunteers and staff provided a warm welcome for visitors during the Pop Up /Courtesy of GoSite/GRAM

The GoSite, a 21st century welcome center for locals and visitors alike, will celebrate its Grand Opening on Saturday, April 4 with a full day of activities, prizes, samples and giveaways. More information about the GoSite and the celebration day schedule will be announced at a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on the morning of March 31.

Located in downtown Grand Rapids adjacent to Rosa Parks Circle, the GoSite has worked to create a comfortable and vibrant space to explore and discover ideas of what to see and do in the area. The GoSite staff say they are ready to help each visitor find what best suits their needs and interests in Grand Rapids, whether they are visiting for the weekend, just moved to the region, locals meeting up to decide their evening plans, students exploring beyond their campus or individuals just trying to find their way around town.

The GoSite is a unique collaboration among public, private and nonprofit organizations. A pop-up pilot site was temporarily introduced in the summer of 2014 to great success, and the feedback was then used to inform the permanent design. The space has recently undergone upgrades to accommodate the new design and technology needs.

“The GoSite has been a project that developed thoughtfully over time and with many voices from the community,” says Kerri VanderHoff, GoSite Director. “From researching the idea and presenting the concept to stakeholder groups, to coalition building and fundraising to advisory council and inclusion committee involvement in design and function, we are really excited to be at this stage in the process and preparing to celebrate the grand opening.”

VanderHoff is quick to add that the process is never completely done, however, as ongoing feedback and comments from visitors will help to keep the GoSite dynamic, relevant and useful to the community and its guests. She says the integration of social media and the ability for interactive dialogue about what’s going on around town will especially assist in these goals. The GoSite includes digital kiosks and large media monitors on the back wall, but also offers traditional maps and literature as well. There are opportunities for visitors to leave suggestions and comments for others. Above all, says VanderHoff, the pilot program taught the GoSite team just how important face-to-face interaction is.

“The human connection, we found, is by far the biggest value of the GoSite space,” she says. “People wanted to talk to a human being and ask questions. It’s important to have that opportunity to personally welcome visitors and learn what interests them, and this centrally located place offers that.”

The space is located in the northwest glass-enclosed corner of the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM), the lead organizer of the GoSite project. Coalition partners include Experience Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) and others in support of showcasing Grand Rapids as the exceptional place it is to live, work and play. Steelcase Inc. provided design and furnishings; additional launch support is provided by the Wege Foundation, the Dyer-Ives Foundation, and the Frey Foundation. Numerous other organizations and neighborhood associations participate in information sharing with the GoSite, to ensure content is inclusive and comprehensive in representing metro Grand Rapids, its culture and its people.

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