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wingbert last won the day on June 5 2012

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  1. Interesting article: The Next Big Challenge for Small Downtowns An excerpt which isn't specifically about GR but hits close to home - "Civic centers, government hubs, tourism and entertainment districts, and educational and medical clusters are all great things; they’re an important part of what makes downtowns tick. But commerce—true private sector commerce—is the beating heart of a downtown. Because economies are dynamic, cities can’t simply rely on legacy employers to fill this role. They must always be creating new industries and new firms. After making great progress rebuilding the architectural, cultural, touristic, entertainment, and residential life of these downtowns, this is the next challenge for these smaller cities."
  2. There were those that said the Arena wouldn't be a catalyst for revival in the Heartside either. They said it was going to be a big waste of money.
  3. eh... my younger self would've probably lived there.
  4. The much ballyhooed diverging diamond at Cascade Rd and 96 is still a congested mess. Because of course it is. The 5 stoplights in approximately a quarter mile stretch on Cascade road is one epic fail. Plus, the money spent on the diverging diamond would've been better spent extending the long on-ramp from Cascade onto WB 96. Take it all the way until it joins the third lane from Fulton to the 96/196 split.
  5. When you have to resort to cursing you might just as well concede you've lost the argument.
  6. If the old Heidi Christine's, Grand River Grocery and a bank branch are your definition of crappy and deserving of demolition then there's going to be plenty of work for Pitsch for years to come from Ada to Cascade to EGR. In reality, those buildings weren't so much unsalvageable as they were in the way of someone's vision. And for those keeping score at home, the occupancy of the strip mall has actually been solid for the last several years (Zeytin, Spoonlickers, Vitales, eye doctor, McDonalds) but your comment about restaurant of the week makes my point. Are you saying that a fancier looking building with higher rent is going to solve that issue in this downtown? The Mud Room did well for years in a "shoddy outbuilding on the perimeter of the strip mall". Now they are at Knapp's Corner. The Thornapple Grill building might've been a little old so hey, let's tear it down. We'll build an amphitheater on the river because the one between the Amway Grand and Devos Place downtown has been such a raging success. And no, I'm not fixated on the liquor store. The point is that the liquor store is emblematic of the fallacy at the core of this whole concept. The idea that you can fake your way into being a quaint boutique town. At the first opportunity in the new Ada, were art galleries and high-end clothiers fighting for that space? Now, you're already seeing the future of Ada with Cheri's ice cream shop. I fear it's just going to be a bunch of Amway family-owned boutiques operating at break-even (at best) opening to fill empty storefronts and give the appearance of vibrancy along with some service businesses (Dr. Norman, the eye doctor, the State Farm guy). And then, who is going to invest in a retail business when you know you will be competing with people who don't have to turn a profit? Like I said before, I hope I'm wrong.
  7. Not to go too far off track but I drive through Ada nearly every day. It may fill up with all the fancy things you mention but the majority will fail. It will not become the next Rockford or Saugatuck. There is only one reason for all the changes and that is to create a Potemkin village to assist Amway in making an impression on visitors and helping them when they are recruiting people from other large CPG companies. For example, the Clever Ewe closed up and no fancy boutique or salon moved in. Instead, the eye doctor from the strip mall is moving there. Before it was the Clever Ewe, that location was an art gallery. And speaking of Ada Liquor, where was the boutique or salon clamoring for that location on the historic side of Thornapple when it became available? Instead, we got a liquor store. I certainly hope you are right and I am wrong.
  8. Meh. Not sure where the "bunch" of crappy buildings were located. And sure, the strip mall wasn't a gem, but I'll reserve judgement for a few years. It will be interesting to see if chasing away longtime businesses from the downtown, building faux historic buildings, and raising rents will result in any actual growth/vibrancy in downtown Ada. Don't get me wrong, I'm hoping it turns out OK, but when the newest addition is Ada Liquor... is that a good sign? What's next, a couple of vaping shops and a Boost Mobile?
  9. Look how Hudsonville has become the sin city of the midwest since the blue laws were eliminated. The crime and alcohol-fueled criminal activity, not to mention the rampant whoring have ruined that town for the god-fearing folk who used to call it home.
  10. I swear, this obsession with brown and beige in Grand Rapids is starting to get depressing. Let's see some creativity.
  11. Are you talking about the old original Ada or the new Disney-fied Ada brought to you by the good folks at Amway?
  12. Personally, I still like a bit of the originality of some of the early designs better than this safe and homogenized look they settled on.
  13. I think it's a great spot for a Dollar General.
  14. So the NOCO Provisions is looking pretty close to complete. Quite a transformation from the old Forest Hills Inn.
  15. Wouldn't it be great to see a Grand Rapids location on a list like this if they actually did dredge the river. 10 Michigan Restaurants Where You Can Dock Your Boat