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d8alterego last won the day on April 17 2010

d8alterego had the most liked content!

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About d8alterego

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  • Birthday 11/14/1982

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    Melbourne, FL but a GR native
  • Interests
    Grand Rapids, Star Wars, Gaming, Traveling, Architecture, City Planning, Smarth Growth Development, History, Biking, Football, Baseball, Rugby, Stand Up Comics, Various TV Shows, Movies and More Movies, uh, and California. More as I think of them.
  1. I in no way said that redevelopment was a bad thing. I just feel redevelopment can harmoniously occur without forcing them out. It seems to be working out so far in Heartside. Ideally, as you stated, the shelters/soup kitchens would fulfill their goals and they then would no longer be needed. That's what I'd like to see. My biggest beef in this whole debate centers around how some UPers generalize and marginalize an entire group of people. I didn't want to have to bring up my personal connection with this topic, but I feel it now should be said. I have a very close friend named Jeff that went through hell 4 years back. He was kicked out of his home by his family and ended up on the street. No church in the area (and I'm not kidding when I say that) would help him out because a) he's gay and b) he's positive. He was not a criminal, a drug user, or crazy as some on here would claim. With nowhere to go, he moved into a non profit, non-religious shelter. After leaving the shelter/soup kitchen after a year, he continually goes back to "pay it forward." I went with him recently just to see what those people go through. Since then, I've been helping out whenever I can. He's now working a minimum wage job in the hopes of going back to school. I don't know where he gets his courage or strength, but I admire him for it. He's a success story, one of but a few. If I were to have told him, while he was there, that it was better the shelter close so that the old building next door could be re-add to the tax rolls, I would have been completely in the wrong. Wouldn't you agree? Sure, it's just one story out of many, but in this great economy we are in, many are going through similar stories and have never been homeless before. Maybe I should ignore the homeless and see your point that a growing tax base would help out the dying city. I just feel that things wouldn't change or improve much in their lives (maybe yours but they'd still be crazy drug users right?) and it would be much easier than having to defend myself here. I would concur with you GR Town Planner that a concentration of anything can be detrimental.
  2. I would consider myself a realistic optimist. When others on here decide to generalize all the homeless in a Heartside pocket park as drug users and criminals, I don't see that as "realism." I see it as irrational discrimination towards a group of people few try to understand or worse, help. I love a good debate, as long as there are a) facts and b) civility. I have, on multiple occasions, conceded points in my debates on here with those I may disagree with and have not always "won." If people stop responding because they don't like other's opinions, it's their loss. I'm still going to point out what I feel may be morally wrong with an issue in this forum or any other. Oh, and if you feel the moral low ground is "realism," that's a sad outlook on life.
  3. Are you so sure the vacancies are due to the community outreach programs or could it be the horrible economy? I bet more the latter than former. I would concede the point that some of the homeless that wander the streets incoherently don't help the selling points of a given property, yet somehow it hasn't stopped the redevelopment occuring on Division. Some very good examples of redevelopment being Rockwell's/Republic and 101 S. Division. As I already pointed out, redevelopment is occuring harmoniously even with the community outreach programs being there. If people on here really want to advance the cause to move, close, or minimalize the community outreach programs in Heartside just so that a few more buildings can be saved (but the homeless suffer more), then go for it. I think it's wrong. People should come first in a communty, even if that means older buildings may not get saved.
  4. I would agree with you Joe that I shouldn't put a "positive spin" on homelessness. My concern and point is that, with the goal being the redevelopment of Heartside, we shouldn't just see the homeless shelters or soup kitchens as an obsticale to that redevelopment. So far, the redevelopment projects and the shelters have gotten along just fine. If the community outreach programs fulfill their goals and eliminate homelessness as GRDad hopes, then good for them. Problem solved. Your accusation of me taking the "moral high ground" is not an insult. I'd gladly take that stand in every arguement I make for it usually wins them. If you choose to argue the moral low ground, by all means do so. I was not the one to start the conversation about the homeless, nor pure morality issues, but I decided to voice my opinion on the collective generalizing of the homeless at a Heartside pocket park. I did not stray off topic since my point relates to the community outreach programs affecting Heartside. Those programs and those they serve also affect the neighborhood in how it redevelops. Is that not what this thread is about? Homelessness in Heartside is a big problem, even bigger when people generalize, marginalize, and discard them as something other than human. Hence the recent viloence against the homeless in many cities.
  5. Your reply seems tinged with sarcasm and venom. Still haven't buried the hatchet have you crinzema? It seems to me that people, including you, often forget that the homeless are people as well. It would be easy to just close down their soup kitchen to force them out, wouldn't it? Have you ever helped out at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen? Or, as I mentioned in my previous post, ever talked to any of them? Before you start going after me for trying to point out that Heartside has a heart, how about you try changing yours? I think you'll have a greater appreciation for the nieghborhood. Also, I don't advocate against redevelopment. I want the old buildings saved, but not at the expense of a St. Mary's style "level them all for parking" approach. I would just like developers to have somewhat of an appreciation for what the neighborhood is before altering it to the point of closing down soup kitchens.
  6. That's the problem with gentrification: the poor get pushed out. It's great that old buildings get rehabed, but property values go up and thus property taxes, so those that can't keep up with rising property taxes (the poor) tend to be forced out. The public pressure then builds to relocate the shelters to more economically depressed areas. Yet we have to ask ourselves if that is what we want. Heartside is named Heartside for a reason. The personal interactions between students, artists, businessmen/women, the homeless, the religious community give heartside its character. Take away the homeless and the religious community who serve them and you don't have the same neighborhood character. I wouldn't want that. To me, you live and work in heartside because you want to be there, even if it contains people with radically different views than you. Also, are the homeless not citizens of the city as well? Don't they have a right to enjoy a park as much as you do? How often have any of us sat down a talked to someone that's homeless? I bet you they love Heartside just as much as you do.
  7. d8alterego

    Grand Rapids Airport (GRR) News and Developments

    This is awesome news! Two years ago there wasn't one discount carrier offering direct flights to GRR from Orlando. It was truly annoying having to make connection flights with high cost carriers. In that little amount of time, I now have two options! I hope these companies are profitable in GRR.
  8. d8alterego

    GVSU Downtown Development

    Being that the school is currently short on money from the state, it would appear that DeVos made a pretty generous donation to get this building built. Does anyone know the status of the new library at the Allendale campus? Is that project still trying to seek funds? It would be a shame, however, for this new business school project to get fully funded when I believe the new library is more important. Just my opinion. During the years that I was there, 01-06, there was not a lot of student housing options downtown, but that has since changed with many projects wrapping up construction since then. One example off the top of my head would be the old bike factory project. I think this new school addition will allow for more classes/departments DT which will translate to more success for the Gallery on Fulton/Commerce St./Division/bike factory projects. This is awesome news.
  9. d8alterego

    Transit Updates for Greater Grand Rapids

    Even with the talk about the Hyrail, a more plausible goal is looking more and more real: high speed rail. I am very happy that Michigan and the Midwestern states are not lagging on this effort and are infact in the lead. Now if we could get GR connected to this system eventually, that would be awesome.
  10. d8alterego

    Transit Updates for Greater Grand Rapids

    In other words, mass transit has to include mass. You make a very good point Rizzo. Yet this system still seems to have merit technologically. I could see Japan going gaga over this kind of transit.
  11. d8alterego

    Transit Updates for Greater Grand Rapids

    I get the feeling many of you on here have seen this article on Mlive, but for those that haven't, I thought I'd post it. What amazed me is that this new type of transit seems very plausable. Yeah, the start up costs are high, but the fact that the system pays back municipalities, is highly efficient, self-sufficient, and almost completely environmentally friendly is really amazing. It uses the storm water runoff to help run the system along with solar energy. To me, it has the potential to revolutionize transportation. What's even better is that it's all taking place in Michigan and is supported by roughly 150 private partners. Also, the company wants to utilize the large amount of auto parts manufacturers to construct the system, thus creating huge amounts of jobs. But my feet are firmly planted on the ground knowing that this is probably more whimsy than reality. Yet Michigan once took a great risk in cultivating the auto industry, so if it can do that, why not cultivate a new industry on mass transit construction? As representative Bill Rogers (R-Howell) put it, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." The links are here: The HYRAIL and here: Mlive.com I like how, in the first link, the conceptual drawings show the old Michigan Central Station as a terminal. That would be amazing!
  12. d8alterego

    Transit Updates for Greater Grand Rapids

    I agree as well. Geographically it makes sense and I could see a light rail connector between GR and Kzoo, one which would end in the same high speed rail station. That would be awesome and convenient.
  13. d8alterego

    GVSU Downtown Development

    Allendale supposedly altered their "master plan" to make the GVSU area more walkable. That picture is proof of their success so far. 48th street is a horrible street for walkers and joggers.
  14. d8alterego

    GVSU Downtown Development

    All of that development happened within a 4 year period. I left in 06 and almost none of that was there. GRDad, did you get any pics of the new Mackinaw Hall and dorms?
  15. d8alterego

    ArtPrize and Project 1 - Grand Rapids

    Keep in mind everyone that this is the first year they are doing something like this. It has never been attempted at such a large scale with this many artists across an entire city before. I think it is awesome and there are bound to be some hick-ups. 800 artists and their fan bases would be a pretty cool event downtown though. I know I wouldn't want to drive around town at that time.