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Planning commission approves controversial development project for SE Grand Rapids

project plans
Bryce Huffman
Michigan Radio
The proposed development project for the Boston Square neighborhood.

A controversial development project in Southeast Grand Rapids is one step closer to getting the green light. That’s after the city’s planning commission unanimously approved rezoning for the nine acre development.

Amplify GR, a DeVos Foundation-backed non-profit group that describes itself as working to help communities improve their own neighborhoods, wants to build up to 270 residential units, retail space, and a park in the city’s Boston Square neighborhood.

The project has drawn excitement and criticism from community members, some of whom worry they will be priced out of the neighborhood like many others living near recently developed parts of the city.

Jon Ippel, the Executive Director of Amplify GR, is excited the project is moving forward.

“This is a first step in a journey of really working with the neighbors of Boston Square and creating more equitable outcomes for all,” Ippel says.

Ippel says this project will help keep the current residents in the neighborhood and increase the number of minority-owned businesses in the city.

“As well as really lift the priorities of the community, and those things were spoken today in terms of grocery stores and a lot of other community amenities that are important to this community,” he says.

Some of the other amenities the neighborhood members asked for were a bank and a preschool.

The project still needs approval from the city commission before any construction begins. Ippel thinks construction could begin sometime in 2021 or 2022.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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