Nonprofit plans Eritrean cultural center


An icon of the Eritrean flag. Photo via

A local cultural organization is requesting zoning approval for a new community center and banquet hall.

The Eritrean Cultural Community and Civic Center submitted a special land-use application for its recently purchased building in Grand Rapids, at 1555 Eastern Ave. SE.

The purpose of the nonprofit is to unite and network with members of the Eritrean culture in Kent Country, according to Teklai Zerom, president of the organization.

She said the organization is meant to help people who have immigrated from Eritrea, a country in Africa, many of whom are refugees.

The goal of the organization is to ensure those who relocate or are born here do not lose their culture and also receive the resources to live “productive and prosperous lives.”

The organization purchased the building in December for $125,000 with a loan through United Bank.

The request says the first floor is where most of the activities would take place, including learning events, gatherings and the provision of resources for those who need food, shelter, counseling or have other domestic-related issues.

The second floor would be used for small classrooms, meeting rooms and offices.

The Grand Rapids Planning Commission’s next regular meeting is at noon on March 22.

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