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Thread: Grand Rapids, MI?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Grand Rapids, MI?

    I am heading out to Grand Rapids for the week to visit the in-laws (Allendale Twnshp and Jenison, technically, but we'll probably spend much of our time in the city.) I've been there a few times and hit the Meier Gardens, the Children's Museum, the zoo, and the Public Museum.

    Any recommendations of things to see that may interest an urban planner in that area? Remember that (1) it will be cold out and (2) I'll have young kids in tow. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    He's taken a posting sabbatical, but I'll see if I can put you in with michaelskis. He's our GR ambassador, and he gave a group of Cyburbians a great tour of the CBD a few years ago. Talk to veloise too. Lots of GR photos in the Gallery.

    GR has a surprising amount of adaptive reuse in and around the city's downtown. Also, check out the Heritage Hill area. It's also one of the cleanest cities I've ever seen. I wouldn't call it a Portland-like mecca of planning, but I'd pout it ahead of the curve for a Michigan city.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  3. #3
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Nearby, Grand Haven is a nice beach town.

    Muskegon is also close-by. Muskegon has an interesting downtown. In order to compete with the indoor shopping malls, (I would guess that this was the early 1970's) the City decided to turn its main street into an indoor mall. I visited it about 1990 and found it to be very odd, with much of the buildings around the mall knocked down for parking. By the late 90's much of the mall was deserted so they ripped it down, leaving a few of the original buildings. About 5 years ago they began to put the downtown back together again as series of outdoor buildings. I've seen pics, but have not really spent much time exploring it.

    I would agree that GR is very clean. One of the things I find strange about it is that while they have sunk a sizable amount of money into the downtown there is not really a lot of business there. Sure there are hotels, bars, and convention facilities, but once you get beyond that, there is little retail or non-insitutional use.

    Veloise may be able to give some additional information.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  4. #4
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Not sure what the schedule is during the holiday, but you may want to check out Frank Lloyd Wright's Meyer May House.

    http://meyermayhouse.steelcase.com/

    If you're into the whole LEED certification thing, the GR area has the most LEED certified buildings per capita in the nation. Here's a short list...

    http://www.usgbcwm.org/leed

    Perhaps a driving tour to see some of these buildings.
    Last edited by btrage; 21 Dec 2009 at 2:22 PM.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Lessee...the new GRAM right downtown, with public ice skating ($1, free skate rental) right next door.

    Monroe Center is an interesting retail strip.

    Several ArtPrize installations remain. GRCM mural, table & chairs on the blue bridge (river), murals on buildings along Division. Big silver metal sculpture in the park on North Monroe south of the 6th street bridge.

    The BZA tour: NW corner of the east Beltline and Leonard.
    SW corner of Seward and 4th. That ArtPrize mural is now up in Wyoming at Klingman's Park (28th St).
    GR Ballet has added a line to their on-wall signage.

    Take a hike through Heartside. There's a new pocket park at Division and Cherry, several new buildings going up. One has a parking deck in the middle and residential/commercial on the outer walls.

    Ada Bike has purchased Fulton Mower & Bike (just east of Fuller). Across the street is the new Opera GR building.

    You might find these discussions interesting.
    http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/in...-grand-rapids/

    PM me for a mini laefest (caffest).

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Thanks for the advice- I already came and went and hit many of the spots you mentioned including the skating at Rosa Parks and some tapas downtown (San Chez).

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Masswich View post
    Thanks for the advice- I already came and went and hit many of the spots you mentioned including the skating at Rosa Parks and some tapas downtown (San Chez).
    Come back!


  8. #8
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    The mystery project is baaaack!

    Big news in River City this morning. Several years back the local media and developers were whipped into a frenzy by rumors of a "mystery project" that would infill some vacant and under-used river frontage.

    And now it's back.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapi...d_mystery.html

    Feel free to offer results of your own research on Urban Planet.
    http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/in...project-redux/

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Gotta brag


  10. #10
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Lipdub


  11. #11
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I hope all our Grand Rapids area Cyburbians are safe and sound tonight.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  12. #12
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    I hope all our Grand Rapids area Cyburbians are safe and sound tonight.
    We were eating at a downtown restaurant outside when the chase on I-96 started. I think my daughters counted 11 police vehicles that whizzed by where we were on their way to the expressway.

    7 people dead and the suspect is holed up in a house with 2 more hostages.

    I joked on FB that I need to move to Detroit so I can be safe!
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    What an interesting evening...

    I went to band practice less than a mile from one of the scenes.

  14. #14
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    I went to band practice less than a mile from one of the scenes.
    Crazy. The whole event seemed crazy.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  15. #15
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Its my understanding that the guy was just driving around town snorting coke smoking the funny stuff and shooting folks... Made a few stops along the way though. I hate to see stuff like that.

    I understand he shot a cancer patient driving down the street and got him in the nose. The nose was reconstructed with titanium and just bounced right off. I bet he has a story to tell the grandkids!
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    ArtPrize 2011

    Highlights:

    This is a quilt.






    Can you find me?


    Lots of DT peds even on a weekday afternoon in the rain.


    Some of our old buildings: a few recent rehabs, and some waiting on deck.










    "Is this an exhibition center?"


    From the sublime all the way back.






    Economic impact abounds. These folks usually close by 6 pm.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Looks nicer in your pics than it did in the movie "30 Minutes or Less."

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop View post
    Looks nicer in your pics than it did in the movie "30 Minutes or Less."
    During filming, I was DT watching the car crash, shoot 'em up, and blowout of the windows from the coffee shop that's a block away from this one.

    The amount of infrastructure improvements over the fist weeks of September have been a sight to behold. Suddenly we have new/repaired curbs on the traffic island planters, potholes are a dim memory, the trash patrols are running overtime. Everything is spiffed up and polished to a new degree. A couple of long-vacant buildings have become pop-up stores or galleries. Wild art inside...





    ...and nice renderings posted on the walls outdoors.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Urban renewal - golden anniversary

    Fascinating series here in the local media. Check out the sliding then-and-now photos.

    http://topics.mlive.com/tag/GR-urban...cart_graystrip

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    Fascinating series here in the local media. Check out the sliding then-and-now photos.

    http://topics.mlive.com/tag/GR-urban...cart_graystrip
    Great stuff, thanks.

    When I was in Grand Rapids last February we walked down Wealthy Street and loved a lot of the vibe but were a little surprised about how early everything closed.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Masswich View post
    Great stuff, thanks.

    When I was in Grand Rapids last February we walked down Wealthy Street and loved a lot of the vibe but were a little surprised about how early everything closed.
    Zat iz zee Dootch Vey! Don't cha no?
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  22. #22
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Masswich View post
    Great stuff, thanks.

    When I was in Grand Rapids last February we walked down Wealthy Street and loved a lot of the vibe but were a little surprised about how early everything closed.
    I wish I knew you where in town. I would have bought you a beer! In terms of things closing early, I know that some places seem to have summer hours and winter hours. If you come back in a few weeks, you might find that some things are open later.


    On a side note, as a resident, I see so many changes in the City happening everyday, that I almost forget what might have been places. I noticed google map's street view lets you look at older pictures (back to 2007 in places) and the most recent at the same time. Some areas don't seem to have changed much, but places like Division from Wealthy to Fulton have been cleaned up considerably. Even more so, I think in the next few years, it will change even more as several new projects have been announced... hopefully these will actually get developed.
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Thanks, I'll take you up on that next time! It was February so maybe it was winter season. In general I think Grand Rapids is a good city, wish I didn't end up in the exurbs so much when I visit (relatives in Jenison)

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