Budget approved to fund new projects in GR

Members of the Downtown Development Authority at the budget meeting Wednesday. (May 13, 2015)

GRANDR RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There are 98 projects in the works for downtown Grand Rapids, and Wednesday the Downtown Development Authority approved its budget for the 2016 fiscal year.

The total budget approved is $9.65 million, about half is already dedicated to existing commitments and the other half is dedicated for future projects to better downtown Grand Rapids.

Proposed projects are broken down into three categories: Investment, vibrancy and livability.

DDA Executive Director Kristopher Larson highlighted just some of the projects on the horizon for the future of downtown.

“I’m excited about all of them but there are several that are linked to GR Forward that I think people will be excited about. One is Calder Plaza and how to soften that space so it’s not just a hard scape surface. So we are looking at extending Ottawa to connect Oaks and Cherry Street which would enable different transit connections and getting the busses off of Grandville. Also continuing investment in winter programming. We believe that we can be a four season downtown. We want to build more types of program that will allow people to enjoy the few months of the year that it’s really cold outside,” said Larson.

This is the first step in the approval process. The budget will be presented to the Grand Rapids City Commission on May 26 and then will go back to the DDA.

Final approval is slated for this summer.

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