GR is moving forward

Thanks to the great ideas, insightful comments, and encouragement of over 3,500 plan participants, we are thrilled to share your GR Forward plan! You can view the full draft plan below, or click here to download full resolution plan documents individually. Your feedback is welcome and encouraged any time. Please feel free to direct any comments or questions to Tim Kelly at tkelly@downtowngr.org.


When you think of Downtown Grand Rapids and the Grand River, do you find yourself thinking about what's there now, or do you imagine the potential of what could be?

We're in the midst of making a dramatic transition from being a city of sprawl to re-focusing on two of the city's strongest assets: the Grand River and Downtown. Grand Rapids Forward is a comprehensive planning process that invites the public to join Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. [DGRI], the City of Grand Rapids, and their partners in envisioning the many ways in which we can leverage this momentum to make progress towards a holistic vision for Downtown and the Grand River.

We're collecting your big ideas on Instagram.

In the News

From The Rapidian, June 9, 2015
Keep GR moving: Modern strategy designed to build stronger city

From MiBiz, April 12, 2015
Building inventory: GR developers to add more than 1,400 apartment units as available inventory shrinks

From The Rapidian, February 3, 2015
Love matters: GR Forward speaker says love important factor in city-building

From Grand Rapids Business Journal, January 23, 2015
River at center of GR Forward’s plans

From MiBiz, January 18, 2015
Multifamily projects give added boost to construction activity

From MLive, January 16, 2015
Surprised by 2014's recovery, West Michigan business leaders expect more of the same in 2015

From MLive, December 2, 2014
Grand River restoration plans wait on new flood maps from FEMA

From MLive, October 29, 2014
Tax breaks for high-rise apartments in downtown Grand Rapids gain state approval

From WOODTV, October 1, 2014
GR to start bike lane education after confusion

From MLive, September 2, 2014
Grand Rapids school board moves new Museum School forward for next year

From MLive, August 24, 2014
Striking gold with Silver Line? Grand Rapids bets $40 million on state's first bus rapid transit system

From the EPA Newsroom, July 31, 2014
EPA Awards Grants to Promote Environmental Stewardship in Michigan

From MLive, July 17, 2014
See what issues downtown planners are hearing about as they develop a new master plan

From The Rapidian, July 16, 2014
Why GR Forward: Preparing for smart, explosive growth takes citizen involvement

From MLive, July 15, 2014
Grand Rapids home sales, new listings perked up in June

From The Rapidian, July 15, 2014
Maker space fosters diversity, continues to encourage cross pollination

From Grand Rapids Business Journal, June 13, 2014
Problem solving for urban living demand best left to local expertise

From the Rapidian, June 10, 2014
The changing constitution of livability How will Grand Rapids develop as residents' priorities change?

From Crain's Detroit Business, May 10, 2015
Backers ready to launch Grand Rapids 'waterfront metropolis' plan

From The Rapidian, April 7, 2015
Downtown residents invited to share thoughts about future of city

From MLive, January 26, 2015
$2.6 million project at Grand Rapids wastewater plant to stabilize flood berm

From Grand Rapids Business Journal, January 23, 2015
Founders adds to downtown’s skyline

From MiBiz, January 18, 2015
Tightening building inventory drives new construction activity across Grand Rapids

From Grand Rapids Business Journal, January 16, 2015
Forecast for West Michigan economy in '15: 'steady growth'

From The Rapidian, November 25, 2014
GR Forward Thinking continues series with noted urbanist Don Edwards

From MLive, October 2, 2014
Parking in downtown Grand Rapids: Consultant says 40 percent of spaces empty

From Grand Rapids Business Journal, September 8, 2014
Study: Grand River restoration creates up to $20M annual impact

From MLive, August 26, 2014
20-story residential tower planned at The B.O.B. in downtown Grand Rapids

From The Rapidian, August 5, 2014
The 11th Annual Mayors' Grand River Cleanup Is Set For September 20th

From MLive, July 14, 2014
Downtown office market was a hotbed as big buildings exchanged hands in first half of 2014

From The Rapidian, July 1, 2014
Envisioning the future of Grand Rapids: how best to utilize downtown, riverfront

From MLive, July 1, 2014
Founders Brewing expansion will double size of Grand Rapids company, CEO says

From Grand Rapids Business Journal, June 13, 2014
Is downtown ready for a building boom? Experts say expanding population will demand more housing options in 2014 and soon.

From MLive, May 29, 2014
Grand Rapids' downtown housing market has reached 'a point of critical mass,' report concludes

From MLive, May 23, 2014
Wrecking downtown: 100 photos of Grand Rapids urban renewal demolitions

The Study Area

Downtown



We have all watched change happen all over Downtown and some of us have been a part of this change. Just think how different things were ten years ago. Downtown is starting to hit its stride as a destination, as an economic center, and, increasingly, as home to many residents now living downtown.

What will the next decade and beyond bring for Downtown? The Downtown Plan component of Grand Rapids Forward will create a vision for the future of Downtown that will seek to maximize opportunities for improvements. Getting to that vision and framework for change will require a comprehensive analysis of economic development, the Grand River, housing, transportation and parking, land use, open space, infrastructure, among other important issues.

You are a critical part of this. Forming a thorough understanding of these issues requires a careful understanding of how they affect all of us: the residents, business and property owners, employees, leaders, advocates, and visitors to Downtown. Learn about ways to participate here.

River



The River Corridor Plan will reimagine lands along the riverfront and rethink how we interact with the Grand River itself. We will explore how to enhance the city’s vitality, improve quality of life and leverage economic activity. The planning process will study the river corridor from Lamoreaux to Millennium Parks. Through a robust community engagement process, the public will provide critical input to guide the River Corridor Plan’s development. Anticipated topics include an analysis of complimentary and catalytic land uses, parks and trails, environmental quality and neighborhood connections. Grand Rapids’ namesake rapids were removed from the landscape more than a century ago. The river shaped our past, now how will we design the future? 

Central Campus and Museum School

Imagine the potential of a cutting edge new secondary public school choice where the sights, sounds, exhibits and artifacts of our public museum are literally a part of everyday teaching and learning. In fall 2015, the new Grand Rapids Public Museum School will open its doors to students in grades 6-12 thanks to a remarkable partnership between the Grand Rapids Public Museum, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Kendall College of Art and Design/Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, the City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., and the Downtown Development Authority. As a part of the GR Forward planning process, residents from throughout the region will be a part of envisioning what this new school should look like in the Van Andel Museum Center and 54 Jefferson.

Did you know that the old Central High campus located in the historic Heritage Hill neighborhood is home to the oldest still functioning high school facility in the entire state and the nation’s first PK-12 public Montessori school? Thanks to the vision of Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal and the overwhelming support of this community, the Innovation Central High campus is at the epicenter of the transformation and future of our city's public schools. Grand Rapids Public Schools invites students, parents, staff and neighbors to take part in the GR Forward process to participate in an exciting design/visioning and redevelopment plan that among other things will explore the development of an urban farm or urban agriculture experience for all four Centers of Innovation and Grand Rapids Montessori. We want to know what you think about the historic preservation and renovation of the Central and Fountain buildings, demolition of the old City/EdPark building, potential traffic improvements, landscaping and beautification ideas, improving school and neighborhood/community use of green space, and more!

Get Involved

Please join your neighbors at the meetings in your area. Your voice is important!

VIEW THE TIMELINE TO Find A Meeting Near You

Why get involved? To accommodate new investment, fully capitalize on the local arts and culture, promote the local economy and reduce the city's environmental footprint all while operating within fiscal constraints requires proactive thinking tempered by hyperlocal expertise. In short, Grand Rapids needs progressive action and a progressive vision driven by those most familiar with the issues and opportunities. That said, Grand Rapids Forward will be developed through a robust community engagement process that will provide the foundation for the vision and recommendations guiding change in Downtown Grand Rapids and along the Grand River.

View slides from the Second Public Forum

GR Forward Thinking Speaker Series

"Planing with Bold Vision"

Jen Keesmaat, Chief of Planning for Toronto

"Economic Development and Equity"

Don Edwards, Principal of Justice and Sustainability Associates

"Performance Based Governance"

Theresa Reno-Weber, Director of Performance and Innovation for Louisville

Project meetings

Browse our meeting agendas and stay up to date on the conversation

Belknap Black Hills Creston Heritage Hill Roosevelt Park SWAN/JBAN West Grand

 Show Older Events 
  1. Downtown Steering Committee

    April 3, 2014
    1. River Restoration Steering Committee

      April 17, 2014
      2:00pm – 3:30pm 
      Grand Valley Metro Council Main Conference Room 678 
      Front Avenue NW, Suite 200
      1. Downtown Steering Committee

        May 8, 2014
      2. River Corridor Plan Steering Committee

        June 5, 2014
      3. River Corridor Plan Steering Committee - River Tour

        June 11, 2014
        1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
        1. Grand River Restoration Steering Committee

          June 23, 2014
          3:30pm – 5:00pm 
          Grand Valley Metro Council Main Conference Room 678 Front Avenue NW, Suite 200 Grand Rapids, MI. 49504
          1. Downtown Steering Committee

            July 17, 2014
          2. River Corridor Plan Steering Committee

            July 17, 2014
          3. River Corridor Plan Steering Committee

            August 7, 2014
          4. Grand River Restoration Steering Committee

            August 15, 2014
            1:30 pm – 3:30 pm 
            Grand Valley Metro Council Main Conference Room 678 Front Avenue NW, Suite 200 Grand Rapids, MI. 49504
            1. Downtown Steering Committee

              September 18, 2014
            2. Grand River Restoration Steering Committee

              September 18th, 2014
              Thursday, September 18th, 2014 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
              Seidman College of Business. 50 Front Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
              1. Black Hills Mini-Series Meeting #1

                November 13, 2014
                6:30pm - 8:00pm
                Black Hills Community Center
                1035 Godfrey Ave
                1. West Grand Mini-Series Meeting #1

                  November 17, 2014
                  6:30pm - 8:00pm
                  Harrison Park Elementary (Cafeteria)
                  1440 Davis Ave NW
                  1. Northwest Regional Public Meeting

                    November 18, 2014
                    6:30pm - 8:00pm
                    Union High School (Cafeteria/Media Center)
                    1800 Tremont Blvd. NW
                    1. Southeast Regional Public Meeting

                      November 19, 2014
                      6:30pm - 8:00pm
                      Ottawa Hills High School (Mall Area)
                      2055 Rosewood SE
                      1. Roosevelt Park Mini-Series Meeting #1

                        December 2, 2014
                        6:30pm - 8:00pm

                        Cesar E. Chavez Elementary School (Cafeteria/Gym)
                        1205 Grandville Ave SW
                        1. Creston Mini-Series Meeting #1

                          December 2, 2014
                          6:30pm - 8:00pm
                          Riverside Middle School (Cafeteria)
                          265 Eleanor St NE
                          1. Northeast Regional Public Meeting

                            December 4, 2014
                            6:30pm - 8:00pm
                            City High Middle School (Cafeteria)
                            1720 Plainfield NE
                            1. Heritage Hill Mini-Series Meeting #1

                              December 9, 2014
                              5:30pm - 7:00pm
                              Cornerstone Church
                              48 Lafayette SE
                              1. SWAN / JBAN Mini-Series Meeting #1

                                December 10, 2014
                                6:30pm - 8:00pm
                                Sibley Elementary (Cafeteria/Gym)
                                943 Sibley NW
                                1. GR Forward Thinking Speaker Series and Public Forum

                                  January 15, 2015
                                  6:00pm - 8:00pm
                                  Kendall College of Art and Design’s Woodbridge N. Ferris Building
                                  17 Pearl St. NW.
                                  More information.
                                  1. Roosevelt Park Mini-Series Meeting #2

                                    January 27, 2015
                                    5:00pm - 7:00pm

                                    Cook Library Center
                                    1100 Grandville Ave SW 49503
                                    1. Belknap Mini-Series Meeting #1

                                      January 13, 2015
                                      6:00pm - 7:00pm
                                      Belknap Commons
                                      751 Lafayette NE


                                      (Dates for other Belknap community meetings TBD)
                                      1. Black Hills Mini-Series Meeting #2

                                        January 15, 2015
                                        6:30pm - 8:00pm
                                        Black Hills Community Center
                                        1035 Godfrey Ave
                                        1. Creston Mini-Series Meeting #2

                                          January 21, 2015
                                          6:30pm - 8:00pm
                                          Riverside Middle School (Cafeteria)
                                          265 Eleanor St NE
                                          1. West Grand Mini-Series Meeting #2

                                            January 26, 2015
                                            6:30pm - 8:00pm
                                            Harrison Park Elementary (Cafeteria)
                                            1440 Davis Ave NW
                                            1. SWAN / JBAN Mini-Series Meeting #2

                                              January 28, 2015
                                              6:30pm - 8:00pm
                                              Sibley Elementary (Cafeteria/Gym)
                                              943 Sibley NW
                                              1. Heritage Hill Mini-Series Meeting #2

                                                February 10, 2015
                                                5:30pm - 7:00pm
                                                Cornerstone Church
                                                48 Lafayette SE
                                                1. SWAN / JBAN Mini-Series Meeting #3

                                                  February 18, 2015
                                                  6:30pm - 8:00pm
                                                  Sibley Elementary (Cafeteria/Gym)
                                                  943 Sibley NW
                                                  1. Roosevelt Park Mini-Series Meeting #3

                                                    February 19, 2015
                                                    6:30pm - 8:00pm

                                                    Cesar E. Chavez Elementary School (Cafeteria/Gym)
                                                    1205 Grandville Ave SW
                                                    1. Creston Mini-Series Meeting #3

                                                      February 23, 2015
                                                      6:30pm - 8:00pm
                                                      Riverside Middle School (Cafeteria)
                                                      265 Eleanor St NE
                                                      1. West Grand Mini-Series Meeting #3

                                                        February 23, 2015
                                                        6:30pm - 8:00pm
                                                        Harrison Park Elementary (Cafeteria) 
                                                        1440 Davis Ave NW
                                                        1. Black Hills Mini-Series Meeting #3

                                                          February 26, 2015
                                                          6:30pm - 8:00pm
                                                          Black Hills Community Center
                                                          1035 Godfrey Ave
                                                          1. Heritage Hill Mini-Series Meeting #3

                                                            March 10, 2015
                                                            5:30pm - 7:00pm
                                                            Cornerstone Church
                                                            48 Lafayette SE
                                                            1. Belknap Lookout Mini-Series Meeting #3

                                                              March 11, 2015
                                                              6:00pm - 7:30pm
                                                              Belknap Commons
                                                              751 Lafayette NE
                                                               Show More Events 

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