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snoogit

Not for long

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Grand Rapids populations falls, while suburbs rise

From the Grand Rapids Press:

With much of Michigan's population stagnant or falling, Allendale Township is headed in the other direction.

Spurred by new subdivisions along M-45 west of Grand Rapids, the Ottawa County township's population jumped 21 percent from 2000 to 2004, according to U.S. census estimates. It led the way among several townships in Kent and Ottawa counties with double-digit growth -- a stark contrast to cities such as Grand Rapids, which lost more than 2,000 people, the census shows.

(more at link)

I can't see this being a trend for much longer. Allendale? I've seen those subdivisions. Its McMansion city. Thanks, but no thanks.

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I re-iterate what I have said before, I don't trust these non-official numbers, they are based off of income tax returns, during the late nineties the census bureau was estimating that grand Rapids had a population of around 185k, when the final census came out in 00 they were off by about 12k they said the city was losing population, when in fact, it had gained. I question the validity of these numbers.

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Agreed with above. Mid census numbers tend to be a bit off. With the increase of downtown living, I am sure that the city has actually grown. After all, there are not a lot of abandoned homes in GR and there is nothing but residential growth around downtown.

I expect the next census to agree with me, and I am sure that some will be surprised.

What irritates me is that the local media is playing this as something positive. Local news showed people with their one acre yards espousing the benefits of sprawl life (no neighbors, plenty of parking, and easy highway access) while deriding inner city life. They actually seemed more excited about the 20%+ growth rates in Ottawa County than the estimated loss of population in GR proper. Even worse is how they now portray GR as a sub top 100 city in terms of population - time to understand metro areas people... Does nothing for creating the 'big city' feel that we are all desperately looking for. If anything, they have managed to minimize GR and make it seem even smaller than it feels.

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The headline "Urban is out, suburban is in" alone on this article almost made me spit out my regular morning coffee. Again the Press is reporting two year old news and reporting it inaccurately. They are comparing apples to oranges, and as others have stated, using bad information.

If they want to talk about what's "hot" and what's "not", how about reporting that builders (I know firsthand) in these suburban markets would KILL to have 150 - 200 reservations months after formal announcements. Hah, they'd kill to have a dozen reservations before they open a plat! How about reporting that having 60% pre-sold before infrastructure goes in has NEVER happened in any development in Allendale, Caledonia, and Algoma Township.

This whole thread should be dumped just so as to not give the GR Press any more traffic. It again explains why they have been dumping free newspapers in my mailbox for the last 2 weeks :P

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It's quite possible Grand Rapids, and even Ann Arbor are slowly losing people. Most Michigan cities are relatively small (under 50 square miles with the exception of Detroit). People seem to think that downtown development must mean a population gain. But when you look at it, downtown's are make up a very small amount of a cities population or land area.

On top of that, abandoned hoses don't always alone show population loss. Simple vacant properties can do this, with the owners often keeping it up.

I mean, people swore over the 90's that as Lansing was cleaning itself up and adding new downtown housing and a stadium among other developments that the city MUST be growing. Come to find out, according to the census, it has lost over 8,000 people. Cities don't always have to look bad at the beginning of a population decline to be losing people.

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In the last five years the city has filled almost every last available empty lot. Vacant homes are a rare sight in town. There are almost 300 more homes, and untold amounts of new apartments and condos (probably 1000) in the city. I have a hard time believing that the city has lost population. In addition a lot of the older city dwellers are now beginning to die off and those moving into their homes have larger families than the one or two that have been there.

My neighborhood is quickly going through this transition. The general density is greatly increasing.

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ALL other Michigan cities are landlocked. I'm pretty sure (at least in the Lower Peninsula) that every scare inch of land is a charter township if it is not a city or village. Michigan has some of the toughest annexation laws in the entire country. Even when annexation is allowed, it's only allowed under long-term "land sharring agreements" which is where the land doesn't fully revert to the city annexing it for many, many years. At least, I think that's the law here.

With the exception of Detroit (140 square miles), not other city in Michigan, major or minor, is over 50 square miles. And I'm pretty sure Grand Rapids is the second largest at something like 45 square miles, followed by Battle Creek at 42, and then there is nothing over 36 square miles after that.

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