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joeDowntown

Monroe Center progress

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Downtown retail is starting to come back. According to todays Grand Rapids Business Journal, of the 10 storefronts made available by the Belford (Rockford Construction) renovation of the entire block of the north end of Monroe Center, only 3 spaces remain. Some of the new stores include A Pear (women's shoe store), An-Gina's Boutique (upscale women's clothing store) and Jimmy Johns (Gourmet sandwich shop).

According the the business Journal, the other tenants will be revealed closer to the opening of Jimmy Johns, which plans a late April/Early May grand opening.

This is good news. I hope most of the storefronts are locally owned and can create a cluster of businesses that will feed off each other.

Joe

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It sounds like a very appropriate mix for the neighborhood - will complement little bohemia and the other existing stores and restaurants nicely. glad to see (with the exception of jimmy johns) that the stores are going to be locally owned. it seems like downtown entrepreneurs take a particular interest in the neighborhood in which their businesses operate. case in point the owners of san chez and the bob, both of whom have only expanded their committment to their surroundings since their opening. the monroe store owners will surely do the same. as for jimmy johns, I ask how much has subway done for monroe since it opened?

but all in all, awesome news.

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Daniel,

Agreed. The one nice thing about Jimmy Johns is that the franchise is owned by a couple of young guys (mid 20's) who love downtown GR and were willing to take a gamble instead of putting it in a strip center in the burbs. I hope they do well and bring more people to that end of the block. I can't wait to hear what else is planned for that stretch.

Joe

It sounds like a very appropriate mix for the neighborhood - will complement little bohemia and the other existing stores and restaurants nicely. glad to see (with the exception of jimmy johns) that the stores are going to be locally owned. it seems like downtown entrepreneurs take a particular interest in the neighborhood in which their businesses operate. case in point the owners of san chez and the bob, both of whom have only expanded their committment to their surroundings since their opening. the monroe store owners will surely do the same. as for jimmy johns, I ask how much has subway done for monroe since it opened?

but all in all, awesome news.

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fat people love sandwiches....man jimmy jons/quiznos/rollypolly/subway/2choppers

thats alot of bread

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We're also getting a Mideastern restaurant across from Rosa Parks, between Four Friends and the hot dog place. They hope to open next week--printed menus on a table on the sidewalk out front.

Proprietors are from Dearborn so they oughta give Marie a run for her money!

And Sen. Vandenburg is coming to the Monroe end, across from the AGP.

--Veloise

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The press had a tiny blurb about the statue without any explanation of where it came from, who funded it or who designed it. Is it bronze? I love public art, so the more the merrier. I saw the base of it this weekend. If anybody knows what it looks like, do tell.

Joe

And Sen. Vandenburg is coming to the Monroe end, across from the AGP.

--Veloise

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hey joe,

I did not know that jimmy john's was owned by young folks. that's cool news.

senator vandenberg deserves a street named for him. if only there were more like him around these days.

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hey joe,

I did not know that jimmy john's was owned by young folks. that's cool news.

senator vandenberg deserves a street named for him. if only there were more like him around these days.

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It is absolutely incredible that Arthur Vandenberg, one of the great statesman of the 20th century, is ignored in his home town. Except for Vandenberg Center (which, I guess, is a term rarely used today), the Senator is forgotten. I know that the hubbub over our 37th President tends to cast a shadow over Vandenberg, the latter's career was really far more important than Ford's. In addition, Vandenberg was the editor of the old Grand Rapids Herald and, unlike Ford, a GR native.

Not to take anything away from Gerry, but it would be nice to have some recognition of this very important Grand Rapids native.

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Vandenberg was easily the best politician to come from Grand Rapids. I would put Paul Henry second, and then Ford. It is funny how people from around here have no clue that one of perhaps the three most influential US political figures in the 1900s was from Grand Rapids - and gets no recognition outside of Congress - where he is given appropriate high honor as one of five in the hall of honor.

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It is great that he is finally getting a statue in his honor. Like LA Dave said, other than Vandenberg Center (which most people are clueless about), there is one historical marker stating how important of a man he was. Maybe this will bring his importance to the forefront. I am just shocked that I didn't know about the statue... :) Does anyone know when it will be erected? (As I said earlier, the base is being worked on now).

Joe

Vandenberg was easily the best politician to come from Grand Rapids.  I would put Paul Henry second, and then Ford.  It is funny how people from around here have no clue that one of perhaps the three most influential US political figures in the 1900s was from Grand Rapids - and gets no recognition outside of Congress - where he is given appropriate high honor as one of five in the hall of honor.

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The press had a tiny blurb about the statue without any explanation of where it came from, who funded it or who designed it. Is it bronze? I love public art, so the more the merrier. I saw the base of it this weekend. If anybody knows what it looks like, do tell.

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Saw the site plan in the office, but IIRC there was no elevation view. There are two footprints (um, foot-print shaped), so he won't on a charging stallion but standing on his own two feet.

Jay Fowler said it should rightfully be located at the eponymous center, but he'll (the Senator) will get more exposure on Monroe Center.

My mole tells me the dedication is the 28th.

--Veloise

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Thanks Veloise. Speaking of statues, whatever happened to the statue to commemorate the furniture labor strike that was supposed to be on the grounds of the Ford Museum? I haven't heard anything about the statues in over a year.

Joe

Saw the site plan in the office, but IIRC there was no elevation view. There are two footprints (um, foot-print shaped), so he won't on a charging stallion but standing on his own two feet.

Jay Fowler said it should rightfully be located at the eponymous center, but he'll (the Senator) will get more exposure on Monroe Center.

My mole tells me the dedication is the 28th.

--Veloise

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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It is great that he is finally getting a statue in his honor. Like LA Dave said, other than Vandenberg Center (which most people are clueless about), there is one historical marker stating how important of a man he was. Maybe this will bring his importance to the forefront. I am just shocked that I didn't know about the statue... :) Does anyone know when it will be erected? (As I said earlier, the base is being worked on now).

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

P1010107.jpg

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Downtown retail is starting to come back. According to todays Grand Rapids Business Journal, of the 10 storefronts made available by the Belford (Rockford Construction) renovation of the entire block of the north end of Monroe Center, only 3 spaces remain. Some of the new stores include A Pear (women's shoe store), An-Gina's Boutique (upscale women's clothing store) and Jimmy Johns (Gourmet sandwich shop).

According the the business Journal, the other tenants will be revealed closer to the opening of Jimmy Johns, which plans a late April/Early May grand opening.

This is good news. I hope most of the storefronts are locally owned and can create a cluster of businesses that will feed off each other.

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

More retail must come in. Two (female) acquaintances of mine told me that although they liked the idea of the new, independent, upscale shoe store, quote "noone's going to go all the way downtown just for one store. They should put more things in."

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Glad someone posted that sign.

WHAT A F'ING JOKE.

At any point in the discussion of Vandenberg Center, could they mention who it is named after and why they were important??? This sign is stupid. The title of the sign should be Grand Rapids.

The Michigan Dept. of State obviously does not feel like honoring one of the greatest politicians in American history...

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In the Press today, there is an ad announcing the sculpture dedication. There is a sketch of the statue and it is basically Vandenberg standing holding,his hat and coat looking out.

About Arthur Vandenberg (pulled from an official invitation):

Thursday, April 28th 2PM unveiling

Arthur Vandenberg, born in 1884 in Grand Rapids, Michi-gan, studied law at the University of Michigan. After working 22 years as editor and publisher of the Grand Rapids Herald, Vanden-berg was appointed to fill the vacancy left by deceased Republican Woodbridge N. Ferris in the United States Senate ─ a seat Senator Vandenberg would hold until his death in 1951. A staunch isolationist in the 1930s, Senator Vandenberglater championed the United Nations. His commitment to biparti-san cooperation was instrumental in shaping American foreign policy after World War II. As a Republican leader and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, he won congressional approval for the United Nations Charter, the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Antonio Tobias Mendez is the sculptor of the Arthur Van-denberg statue. A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he has completed notable commissions around the coun-try, including the Thurgood Marshall Memorial for the state of Maryland, and the Nolan Ryan and Mayor Tom Vandergriff monu-ments for the Texas Rangers baseball club

It looks like it may be funded by the Haunstein Center for Presidential Studies (part of GVSU). I would like to see further representation of our heritage in sculpture; especially honoring Native Americans in Grand Rapids.

Joe

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joe -

I think Native Americans need a better place in the city's public art and memorials. For centuries the Grand River Valley has been host to settlements and seasonal meeting places and Native culture, yet the only things there to remind the present residents of that past are the mounds (are they protected?) and ah-nab-awen park, which as a sea of mown grass and concrete pays scant tribute to indians. I'd like to see the city let some of that park grow back to its natural state. Another idea would be to create an interpretive area at Riverside Park, where the pow-wow takes place every year.

what do you think?

It looks like it may be funded by the Haunstein Center for Presidential Studies (part of GVSU). I would like to see further representation of our heritage in sculpture; especially honoring Native Americans in Grand Rapids.

Joe

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Daniel,

Agreed. The one nice thing about Jimmy Johns is that the franchise is owned by a couple of young guys (mid 20's) who love downtown GR and were willing to take a gamble instead of putting it in a strip center in the burbs. I hope they do well and bring more people to that end of the block. I can't wait to hear what else is planned for that stretch.

Joe

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Theres a Jimmy Johns on Alpine Ave just north of 4 mile :P

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Jimmy Johns are also located in Wyoming on 44th (west of Burlingame) and in Wayland off of 131.

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Another idea would be to create an interpretive area at Riverside Park, where the pow-wow takes place every year.

That is a good idea.

You are right, as the original founders of region they are short changed. Yes, the museum pays attention to our Indian history, as do some of the parks, but there should be more. However, even the early founders of the city seem to be short changed. Campau is more well respected in Saginaw (where he also helped to form a trading post) than he is here.

Perhaps Millenium Park should have an area set aside to honor them.

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I do think that Millenium park includes the indian mounds and that they are figuring out a way to give it more prominence while respecting the sacred ground. I think some sort of sculpture plus a description of the area during native american times would be a great tribute. They actually have a couple of cool sculptures outside the ford museum but they are kind of off the beaten path. Probably to keep the teens from sitting on them to get a better view of the fireworks. ;)

Joe

That is a good idea.

You are right, as the original founders of region they are short changed.  Yes, the museum pays attention to our Indian history, as do some of the parks, but there should be more.  However, even the early founders of the city seem to be short changed.  Campau is more well respected in Saginaw (where he also helped to form a trading post) than he is here.

Perhaps Millenium Park should have an area set aside to honor them.

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In the Press today, there is an ad announcing the sculpture dedication. There is a sketch of the statue and it is basically Vandenberg standing holding,his hat and coat looking out.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The Senator is ready to go. Fastest construction work I've ever seen; he's up, and ready for Halloween (wrapped in white ghostly plastic). A bit of brickwork remains to be finished.

Hope it doesn't snow on Thursday.

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As the folks say on my sewing newsgroup, NAYYY (No Affilliation, Yadda Yadda Yadda), meaning "I have no interest in this business other than sharing this info with you."

The new Mid-eastern restaurant (Olive Express) on Monroe Center is a really nice place; the effort to bring it back from whatever it used to be was considerable.

I can pick up the WiFi from Four Friends, the street guys who hang out are not in this building, there's nice lighting and decor and a huge bank of plants. And the owner is real nice. Great view of Rosa Parks Circle.

A small step forward...

--Veloise

on-sidewalk parking for my bike!

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Yah dont for get the free WI-FI!

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