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Mayor highlights need for equitable growth in Grand Rapids State of the City address

Dustin Dwyer
Michigan Radio
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss delivers the 2019 State of the City address.

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss highlighted the city’s economic growth during her State of the City address on Monday night. But she said Grand Rapids still has a lot of work to do to make that growth equitable.

Bliss mentioned the many new development projects in and around downtown, an unemployment rate hovering near three percent, new park improvements and a new autonomous shuttle service for downtown that’s scheduled to begin soon.

“Grand Rapids is working in many ways," Bliss said. "Yet we know that this does not represent the story or the experience for everyone.”

The city continues to have deep racial disparities in income, and an affordable housing crisis. Mayor Bliss said to combat those problems, the city will need more support for minority-owned businesses, more support to get young people through college and more affordable housing.

She also mentioned the upcoming 2020 Census and said it would be a priority for her in the coming year to make sure all Grand Rapids residents respond.

“I do not want our community to miss out on our fair share of state and federal funding. Or of having fair political representation,” Bliss said.

You can view the entire Grand Rapids State of the City address here.

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.