Grand Rapids approves Michigan Street plan


Medical Mile runs through downtown Grand Rapids on Michigan Street. Photo by Johnny Quirin

Grand Rapids city commissioners have approved the Michigan Street Corridor Plan, as well as a number of budgets for the 2016 fiscal year related to economic development.

Michigan Street Corridor Plan

After some discussion clarifying the difference between the Michigan Street Corridor Plan and possible future transit-oriented development re-zoning plans for the corridor, commissioners voted last week to adopt the Michigan Street Corridor Plan into the city’s master plan.

The final plan was developed following several community engagement sessions over multiple years, where input from community stakeholders was received.

The Michigan Street Corridor Plan establishes the type, character and density of development that will be appropriate along Michigan Street, including where new development may occur and what public investments in streets and other infrastructure will be needed.

The plan is based around studies that have found “building more roadway builds more congestion.”

“To build capacity, we have to think about other modes of transportation,” said Suzanne Schultz, managing director of design and development, city of Grand Rapids.

As a result, the plan envisions transit-oriented development that consists of dense land-use patterns, which are reinforced by a transportation system that serves pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and motorists.

In adopting the plan, the commissioners asked Schultz to continue to work with the neighborhood to clarify that there is still time for zoning input and emphasized that the adoption of the plan is separate from that process.

Budget approvals

The commission also unanimously approved eight budgets: the Economic Development Corporation; Brownfield Redevelopment Authority; SmartZone Local Development Finance Authority; Uptown Corridor Improvement District Authority; Uptown Business Improvement District Authority; Madison Square Corridor Improvement District Authority; North Quarter Corridor Improvement District Authority; and WestSide Corridor Improvement District Authority.

DID budget

Additionally, commissioners approved $200,000 from the Downtown Improvement District Fund balance, supporting the DID through Sept. 30.

The DID is in the midst of a re-authorization period, which is expected to occur by Aug. 31. A comprehensive budget cannot be approved until after the organization is receives re-authorization.

It is expected the DID will be re-authorized.

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