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Grand Rapids’ planners seek input for the big plan that’ll shape downtown for decades

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids officials are working on a massive long-term plan to restore habitat in the Grand River and revitalize downtown.

Initially, the plan was just to restore the river rapidsthat gave Michigan’s second-largest city its name.

But now Grand Rapids city planner Suzanne Schultz says the plan is much broader.

“This is huge, really, really huge, but it’s exciting,” Schultz said.

The plan encompasses 10 miles of the Grand River, all of downtown and nearby neighborhoods. But Schultz says they’re also looking for big ideas from people throughout the region. It’ll consider parking options, retail and residential developments, plus bike lanes and trail connectors, better flood protection and a whole lot more.

“We want to know, what are those things that they really think could push us to that next level?” she said.

People can weigh in during aseries of meetings that begin this weekand last through at least January.

Schultz described the initiative, known as G.R. Forward, as a type of master plan with “implementable chunks” embedded within it.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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