City of Grand Rapids implements service changes

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Mark Washington Courtesy City of Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids city officials are urging residents to minimize visits to city hall and all other city buildings until April 5 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The public also is encouraged the public to watch Tuesday’s city commission meetings on TV or online.

City Manager Mark Washington recently outlined additional temporary service changes to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, protect the health of community members and city employees. The changes also ensure the continuity of essential city services.

“We have a critical responsibility to do our part in the global fight against the spread of COVID-19 at the local level,” Washington said. “We have a responsibility to our residents and our staff members. It is important to take steps to protect our community and ensure continuity of essential city services.”

The following changes are in effect as of March 18 through 11:59 p.m. on April 5:

  • City Hall at 300 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids Development Center at 1120 Monroe Ave. NW, Parks and Recreation and Public Works departments at 201 Market Ave. SW,  Water Resource Recovery Facility at 1300 Market Ave. SW, Water Administration Building at 1900 Oak Industrial Drive NE and Mobile GR-Parking Services Department at 50 Ottawa Ave. NW are closed to walk-in traffic. Staff members still will be available to provide services via email, phone or 311 Customer Service.
  • The March 26 Planning Commission meeting is canceled, and regular business is moved to the next available meeting in April or May.
  • Nonessential meetings of all city boards and commissions are postponed.
  • Public engagement meetings are postponed and are to be rescheduled for later dates. This includes engagement opportunities for Vital Streets projects, Office of Oversight and Public Accountability, parks facilities, and the city/Kent County consolidated plan for community development block grant.
  • Special events with more than 50 attendees that are permitted through the Office of Special Events are suspended.
  • The Indian Trails Golf Course lounge is closed. Bar and food service is available for only those using the golf course.
  • Interior inspections of occupied residential units for code enforcement, water services and lead remediation projects are suspended except in the case of an emergency health, safety or welfare concern.
  • No new applications for Community Development Block Grant contracts for housing rehabilitation and lead remediation are accepted.
  • Cemetery services are limited to 50 people per Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order.
  • City staff is encouraged to telecommute and/or take accrued earned time off as work requirements allow.
  • City staff may use sick time to care for school-aged children affected by local school closures.
  • The Income Tax Department is suspending in-person preparation of tax returns effective immediately and canceling all extended hours until April 11. New extended hours for tax assistance and income tax preparation will be announced at a later date.

“It’s important we follow recommendations by our health leaders and practice social distancing,” Washington said. “With all of the services we provide online and our 311 customer service call center, we can assist community members without face-to-face interactions.”

In addition, water service shutoffs are suspended through April 30 and accounts in shutoff status are to be restored.

311 customer services, building inspections, communications, construction inspections, code enforcement, fire, police, Mobile GR Parking Services, public works, refuse and recycling, sewer, streets, street lighting and water services will remain in normal operations.

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