GR Forward presents future vision for downtown Grand Rapids

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Six months of public input has led to Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc., sharing its plan for the future of the downtown and riverfront areas.

Thursday night marked the first citywide forum on the issue. Most of plan focuses on increasing the number of people living downtown and reach the city's critical mass for further retail and business investment.

Another big part of the plan is restoring the Grand River, something Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc., has been working on closely with the Restore the Rapids initiative.

Tim Kelly of GR Forward says there's going to be a real emphasis on making the river an essential focal point of the downtown area.

Nothing presented Thursday is set in stone, but Kelly said it's an important next step in the process to ensure everyone with a stake in downtown can feel satisfied with the final result.

“There’s going to be short term projects that we’ll identify through this process, but we’re really seeing this as kind of a 10-year vision for where we want to be in the future, so obviously none of this will happen immediately," he said. "But we do think there are some things we can do in the short term that’ll help move us toward that goal.”

Moving forward, Kelly said there will be more opportunities for the public to weigh in before a final draft is submitted by July.

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