City of Grand Rapids’ Kara Wood joins new statewide brownfield agency


Kara Wood, the city of Grand Rapids’ economic development director. Photo via

The city of Grand Rapids' Economic Development Director Kara Wood has been tapped to represent the city on the Association for Brownfield Redevelopment Authorities, a new statewide agency.

Members of the Grand Rapids Brownfield Redevelopment Authority unanimously chose Wood to be one of the fledgling organization’s directors on Thursday. Wood also serves as the executive director of the city’s brownfield authority and its Economic Development Corp.

“This formalizes her role to act as our representative,” said Brian Smits, BRA vice chairman.

In addition to Grand Rapids, the ABRA has Kalamazoo, Traverse City and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality as founding members. But the membership roll is expected to grow this year.

“There really isn’t anything like this right now,” said Jonathan Klooster of the brownfield authority.

“I think Kara is excited about this. We’ll be able to share best practices throughout the state,” he added.

Wood wasn’t present for the authority’s vote.

The Michigan Municipal League, which advocates for cities and villages in Lansing, honored Wood last month for her involvement in helping to get a brownfield incentive through the Michigan Legislature last year.

The MML presented her with its Outstanding Service Award at the organization’s Capital Conference, which was held in Lansing.

The award cites individuals that the MML feels has gone above and beyond the call of duty in supporting its legislative efforts. The league said Wood has been a “major voice” for not only Grand Rapids but for the entire state.

Wood serves on the MML’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee.

“It’s very important for a city of this size to be involved at the state level,” said Smits.

The ABRA also has to approve Wood’s appointment.

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