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First Public Forum for Michigan Street Corridor Plan

Press release from the City of Grand Rapids:

October 10, 2011
Suzanne Schulz, Planning Director Grand Rapids Planning Department 1120 Monroe Avenue NW, 3rd Floor Grand Rapids, MI 49503 616-456-3646

First Public Forum for Michigan Street Corridor Plan Announced

GRAND RAPIDS, MI –The first public forum for the Michigan Street Corridor Plan will take place on Wednesday, October 19, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm at Central High School, 421 Fountain Street NE, in Heritage Hill. This will be the first opportunity for public engagement in the 18-month long planning process.

The community will be asked to share ideas with city planners and consultants on Wednesday, October 19th on the issues and opportunities they see in and around the Michigan Street Corridor. The goal of the meeting is to begin to collect information that will help shape what the future vision of the area will be. As part of the meeting format, there will be several presentations that highlight recent consultant findings on housing, employment and transportation data collected from near neighborhoods and institutions. "I think that a lot of people will be very surprised by what they hear," said Suzanne Schulz, City of Grand Rapids Planning Director, "the consultant findings are fascinating." Forum participants will have the opportunity to discuss what is presented.

Consultants include:
U3 Ventures, a Philadelphia-based firm that works with educational and medical institutions that has been acclaimed for its work with the University of Pennsylvania in West Philadelphia, as well as leading recent efforts in Midtown Detroit. Zimmerman Volk Associates, a housing market analysis firm based in New Jersey, will present findings from a study of the housing market potential of the Corridor.
SmartMobility and LSL Planning will discuss key transportation and land use concepts from the Wilbur Smith Associates team.

The study area is a four–mile long corridor, stretching from the Grand River to the East Beltline and from Leonard to Fulton Streets, with some components of the study including St. Mary's Hospital campus.    Seven urban neighborhoods with 20,000 residents, numerous local businesses, and the region's major "anchor institutions" are located there. Anchor institutions are significant educational or medical facilities such as Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, St. Mary's Hospital and Spectrum Health.

The Michigan Street Corridor is regionally significant and nationally unique. There are 50,000 people who are employed or go to school within a 50-acre area. "We have yet to see this kind of concentration of anchor institutions within such a small area in our experience with communities throughout the United States" said George Smith of U3 Ventures, a consultant working on the project.

"One goal is to determine how the community can leverage the human capital that is there every day into something bigger that can lead to investment and economic growth in Grand Rapids. For example,
can we encourage these employees to live in city neighborhoods?" said Schulz. At the present time only 3% of anchor institutions live in the surrounding neighborhoods – about the same percentage as in Midtown Detroit around Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Hospital and Wayne State.

Michigan Street is a very important transportation corridor, carrying up to 31,000 cars per day. "We've seen a billion dollars of investment in the corridor in the last decade. The challenge now is to understand how we can accommodate the next billion in growth and not impede it with insufficient infrastructure," said Schulz. "We will be looking at the best ways to create a safe and efficient transportation network, and determine the best land uses for the area that will allow for institutional growth - but also preserve the livability of the neighborhoods that surround the corridor."

The study is being led by a 40-member steering committee comprised of representatives from the city, transit agency, medical facilities, universities and colleges, county, metro council, business association, downtown development authority, neighborhood associations, business representatives, community members and environmental interests.

"We're really excited that we've been able to bring in some top firms to help us with this project," Schulz said. "Their expertise, combined with the connections and talent on the Steering Committee and a robust public engagement process, are going to produce a targeted, implementable vision for the future of this Corridor."

Details about the October 19 symposium will be available on the upcoming project website, as well as on the Planning Department's webpage, at

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
06:30 PM
08:30 PM


Central High School
421 Fountain St NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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