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metrogrkid

A Detroiter's Surprising Take On Metro GR - Hold On

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Just hit this link and then sit back and get ready to feel good about cross-state relations in Michigan . . . .

<a href="http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=519492" target="_blank">http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=519492 </a>

:) This dang state sure does have its good moments. River Rats and Motor Mouths vibing on MGR. Wow. :rolleyes:

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Yeah, that was an awesome photo thread by Michi.

More heritage hill pics please!

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Oh, well I posted those a while ago, and I think posted them here in the City Photos section.

I consider myself a Detroiter through and through, but I've only been here for 3 years and am originally from Northern Michigan. I love all of Michigan's cities and wish the state would end this horrible era of turning its back to its cities. Grand Rapids is doing the best job by far. It helps that it is a manageable population and economy where a large percentage of its people are on board with admitting to change, though costly, will help it compete in the future and catapult its quality of life into top-ranking categories nationwide! :)

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It also helps that Grand Rapids doesn't have 4 million idiotic suburbanites living outside the city limits.;)

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^Thanks for translating the true meaning of what I said. lol :)

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Nice photos. I've tried to keep up with those guys on the Grand Rapids forum, but geez, they go nuts over there. Finally got a chance to look at a nice group of pics all in one sitting. BTW, that is in no way a swipe at you over there on the GR forum. ^_^

That said, being somebody not from either area and someone that goes to both on a fairly regular basis I have to say that compared to my boring little town, you can't go wrong either way.

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Nice photos. I've tried to keep up with those guys on the Grand Rapids forum, but geez, they go nuts over there. Finally got a chance to look at a nice group of pics all in one sitting. BTW, that is in no way a swipe at you over there on the GR forum. ^_^

That said, being somebody not from either area and someone that goes to both on a fairly regular basis I have to say that compared to my boring little town, you can't go wrong either way.

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Thanks for the kind words, Detroit people. Despite my name, I am a native Grand Rapidian. It is a pretty good place, and a heckuva lot more liveable than when I was growing up there.

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GR, definitely benefits today from having a considerable amount of original building stock, no matter what was lost. I agree that having a lot of those old factories is a major plus. So many cities don't have those old nineteenth century structures.

It makes me think of Detroit's Monroe block which shared many similar buildings. A shame it was almost all demolished.

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Nice photos. I've tried to keep up with those guys on the Grand Rapids forum, but geez, they go nuts over there. Finally got a chance to look at a nice group of pics all in one sitting. BTW, that is in no way a swipe at you over there on the GR forum. ^_^

...

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I've been to GR before and just drove through there again last month but I feel like I've never seen this GR. Seriously, I've seen some great stuff there but you make it all look so new. And livable compared to most Midwestern cities that are much larger.

It was very inspiring, Michi. One day I hope I-96 is a healthy corridor of 15 million with several strong urban centers.

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The best virtue I like about living in Grand Rapids is it has the services and amenities of a large metropolis but still has the affordable cost of living and friendliness of a small town. This and seeing how the area has evolved and grown for the better despite a sagging state economy is just amazing. If GR can keep its momentum going, watch out! I have a feeling that the developments currently happening in GR are just a prelude of what's in store once the state get's back on its feet.

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^ Indeed! That's what I like about GR too...that it's growth is always in check. I'd rather have that than an uncontrolled growth bomb going off like Detroit had and places like Phoenix and LV have right now. It's much more attractive and livable when you know you're growing but at a pace that can be managed, ultimately leading to a bright future because we were able to plan for it ahead of time: proactively as opposed to reactively.

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Let's not get too starry-eyed. After all this is the same Michigan. And last time I checked Ottawa County almost puts Livingston County to shame when it comes to exurban cul-de-sacs.;)

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Bah, I don't care. Seriously GR has has their act together. I wish the type of leadership there could exist statewide. I'm talking about you Saginaw, Flint, and Detroit.

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They are definitely on the right road, though, I'd hardly say they've got their act together. The area, like the rest of Michigan's manufacturing centers, ranks in the top two when it comes to manufacturing job losses, second only to metro Detroit, I believe, the only difference being that they've been much better at replacing the jobs. Still, it will take years/decades to replace the amount of jobs the state is losing, and even longer to replace them with jobs of similar income and benefit for that skill level of the economy. I just think it's kind of silly to say that any area in this state is out of the storm quite yet. Even Washtenaw County with all of its population growth and the major research university anchor is on shakey, if even stable, economic footing.

And, as for the leadership of the region, I'm not so sure the political leadership is much better than any other growing parts of the state so much as the area is lucky to have HUGE single-capital sources (i.e. big-name philathropoist) that fund or at least start a great deal of that region's growth. I think that's what makes Metro GR different from either similar cities in other states. You take the philanthropic factor out of the picture and I'm not so sure we'd be seeing what we see today. Without them (i.e. the ridiculous amounts of capital they bring for huge start-ups) we wouldn't be seeing a Van Andel Arena, a Van Andel Museum, Van Andel Institute, MSU willing to relocate a major portion of its medical school, big name hotels, etc...The area is run relatively well, but the swing factor is its luck in having such philathropic families.

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Well I don't know if I'd call it luck. It cannot be denied that without the aristocracy, Grand Rapids would not be in the position it is today. It's not as if they are just giving money away. The families are also making business decisions and benefitting financially. It is not a coincidence that western Michigan is also benefitting from it. Tho I'm not going to lie, Detroit is my favorite city, has been since birth. I really wish you'd see that kind of devotion and dollars invested by Detroits own royal families, there are many many more in Detroit with much much deeper pockets. For as much criticism as Mike Illitch gets, who else is even trying?

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There are, by sheer size, more wealthy families in Metro Detroit, but I'd argue about the idea of them having much deeper pockets. The wealthiest family in the state are the DeVos by far.

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Well, also Detroit's wealth is not Detroit's wealth. Philanthropy exists in the city for sure, but the wealth is scattered throughout the place. Imagine if Bloomfielders lived in the city and committed to it, and donated money to making their city a better place to live.

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LMichigan, while you make some good points, I think you are ignoring a few others. First, if I might compare Grand Rapids with your hometown, GR did not benefit from Oldsmobile or the state government or a large research university. It is very much of a bootstrap city, and I think that gives it a certain strength and more importantly, resiliance. (That is not to say that the downturn in manufacturing has not hammered GR, as well as every other Michigan city.) Second, the stress on medical research is a vitally important key to economic health in the future. People in Michigan, like the Texans in the 1970s who thought oil would last forever, banked on the manufacturing boom. Forget it. Things can be made much more cheaply in China or Korea than in Dearborn. But ideas -- that is where Michigan's future lies. I am astounded by the short-sightedness of the idiots in the legislature (from both parties) who continually hack away at what was once a great state university system. It is for that reason that Lansing may benefit from having MSU, an increasingly great university, next door.

By the way, there is plenty of urban sprawl in Kent and Ottawa Counties, though thank God, it is not to the level seen in Oakland and Macomb Counties. What GR was able to do, however, is maintain a quality housing core near downtown that continues to attract young people and, hopefully, young families.

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There are, by sheer size, more wealthy families in Metro Detroit, but I'd argue about the idea of them having much deeper pockets. The wealthiest family in the state are the DeVos by far.

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They are definitely on the right road, though, I'd hardly say they've got their act together. The area, like the rest of Michigan's manufacturing centers, ranks in the top two when it comes to manufacturing job losses, second only to metro Detroit, I believe, the only difference being that they've been much better at replacing the jobs. Still, it will take years/decades to replace the amount of jobs the state is losing, and even longer to replace them with jobs of similar income and benefit for that skill level of the economy. I just think it's kind of silly to say that any area in this state is out of the storm quite yet. Even Washtenaw County with all of its population growth and the major research university anchor is on shakey, if even stable, economic footing.

And, as for the leadership of the region, I'm not so sure the political leadership is much better than any other growing parts of the state so much as the area is lucky to have HUGE single-capital sources (i.e. big-name philathropoist) that fund or at least start a great deal of that region's growth. I think that's what makes Metro GR different from either similar cities in other states. You take the philanthropic factor out of the picture and I'm not so sure we'd be seeing what we see today. Without them (i.e. the ridiculous amounts of capital they bring for huge start-ups) we wouldn't be seeing a Van Andel Arena, a Van Andel Museum, Van Andel Institute, MSU willing to relocate a major portion of its medical school, big name hotels, etc...The area is run relatively well, but the swing factor is its luck in having such philathropic families.

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No prob! I'm always amazed to learn of all the smaller things that you mention when they are showcased on rapidgrowthmedia. Such establishments and committments are truely a bulk of the lifeblood for the community...in addition to its residents, of course. :)

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Although the big families' touch is evident in downtown Grand Rapids with the arena, Van Andel Musuem, VAI, etc.., historically they have not been "job creators" in the region. In fact, Amway's HQ employment is way down from its peak in the late 90's, early 00's. Only now are they working on healthcare developments downtown that will spur job creation, but not until 2009/2010 at the earliest.

Most of the job growth that has come in the region has come from literally thousands of small and medium sized businesses, some of which are manufacturers, but not as tethered to the automotive industry. And most of this growth has come on the outskirts, just like every other city in the country.

But thanks Michi for at least keeping the spotlight on work going on downtown. :)

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