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Belding, Rebranding a community

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Belding is a small bedroom community to Grand Rapids Michigan, with about 6,000 people. It is currently "re-branding" the community. I am wondering what people know about Belding now, what they think it is, what the people are like that live there, and so on. So if you had to describe this town and people in a few words what would it be?

thanks for your time...

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The first thing I think of when I think of Belding is the Gus Macker tournaments and such that got its start there.

I grew up in sparta and my school played Belding and the fans there seemed to really get behind their teams moreso than any other school in our confrerence. It to me seems like a peaceful small town.

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I spent the bulk of my adolesence there, It really is little more than a bedroom community. Any shopping, entertaining, or until the mid 90's fast food, has to be done in near by Greenville. At one point in it's history, the city was a thriving manufacturing center. It once was the foremost silk refiner, it was a lumber town. It was a center of commerce. In the mid 80's Gibson refridgeration closed up shop in the the town. I didn't arrive there until the late 80's. It was founded around the same times as Grand Rapids, and for a time maintained a similar presence to GR, but when GR exploded, Belding Kind of remained little. It has little bits and pieces of history in it, littered thruout the town. The library being probabally the most noteable. At one point it actually had a mainstreet with quaint shops and all of that jazzy character. However I want to say during the 70's ( though i'm not positive on the exact date) Parts of the buildings fell into disrepair, a partial collapse happened on one of them killing a person. So the city razed about 90 percent of mainstreet, and in it's place errected an indoor Mall. The mall is a testament to the family who owns the local grocery store which is actually a four chain branch. The family has a stronghold on Belding commerce and has fought to keep different retailers and such out, keeping the city in the sub level mediocrity it's been at since. Anyway the Mall has maybe 40,000sf, so it's tiny. It's little more than a host of small city offices, I think there is a rite aid. I could not tell you what else may be there. Anything in it is locally owned and has no traffic.

In my opinion the cities fate rests entirely on branding itself as an exurb of Grand Rapids. It could do this, it has decent schools with a decent sports history. It's got definate potential, It could explode if they would widen the roads out to it from GR. But were that to happen, Belding would lose it's character all together, and simply be a burb.

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