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Grand Rapids taking citizen input on how to spend $2 million in funding

Grand Rapids City Hall and La Grande Vitesse.
Dustin Dwyer
Michigan Radio
Grand Rapids City Hall

The city of Grand Rapids is accepting votes from citizens on how to spend $2 million in the budget.

Residents have weighed in during the participatory budget process throughout the year, and the city has narrowed the list to 27 options across the city’s three wards.

“This is actual opportunity for you to either talk about housing affordability, workforce development, whatever that you’re passionate about,” said DeAndre Ward, a resident who’s been encouraging others at city council meetings to voice their priorities.

The full list of proposals is available online here, and includes ideas such as replacing lead water pipe replacement, child care and media training for young people.

Grand Rapids city commissioners approved the participatory process to help decide how to spend a portion of the city’s funding through the American Rescue Plan Act. City leaders have said more than 1,000 residents have weighed in on their priorities during meetings that have taken place across the city for months.

“It has gone really long, and I think we’ve been expressing our anxiousness of having that to come to an end,” said commissioner Senita Lenear at a meeting in September. “But I think if we’re gaining civic literacy on the other side of that, I think it’s important to do the work that’s being done so that we can have a more civically engaged city.

Residents can vote on their preferred proposals online at PBGR.org, or visit a public library location through Wednesday, October 5.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.