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michaelskis

Grand Rapids Tourism

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Let me start off by saying Grand Rapids is awsome. There have been several times that I have gone to lunch in downtown and could not find a seat at a table because of some conference or similar activity going on at DeVos Place. This is a great sign and let

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I think there are a couple of key ingredients Grand Rapids is missing, hence keeping it from becoming a great destination city. One is a lack of a family-friendly funspot. I honestly believe that if GR had a downtown Great Wolf Lodge or some other sort of hotel/large indoor waterpark, people would come from all over the stay and play here.

Another missing ingredient is the lack of hotel rooms. GR has missed out on bids to host lage-scale events such as the NCAA tournament because it couldn't offer enough local beds. This is definitely a chicken or egg in which comes forst thing - do you attract events by building hotels or do you build hotels because of event demands? I think we are moving in the right direction, especially if the North Monroe and Gilmore project move along like planned.

Also, Grand Rapids falls into the 9-5 city category. I know, I know, I will get alot of you guys screaming that DT is the place to be, and you are right. I spend most weekends in the city, and many weeknights for that matter. However, Grand Rapids still does not have enough vibrancy to support things such as DT markets, boutiques, and other pedestrian-friendly shopping venues. Again, the chicken first? The egg?

Lastly, our city is screaming for a light rail line. The DT is navigable by foot and by car, but both are a pain in the you know what in the 20 degrere January chill. If GR had a lined transit system, I think you would see alot of people taking advantage of that and businesses popping up along its stops.

PS- don't get me wrong, I am not bashing my city. I love it. These are simply constructive views from a guy that has never been wrong. Just ask my wife. :)

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Help people to create powerful, positive memories.

As an example: I know so many people that love Chicago. When you ask them why, you get the typical reasons from everyone: shopping, the museums, a concert.

But what it really comes down to is that when you have a positive emotional attachment to a place you will see everything else in a positive light.

In other words (and to somewhat quote the movie office space) "People can get a cheeseburger anywhere, ok? They come to Chotchkie's

for the atmosphere and the attitude."

People go where they think that they can create good memories. For example, most people would say that they would like to visit the Virgin Islands. Most would mention things like the sun, the sand, and the ocean. What they are really saying is that they know that it will be a good time with good memories.

So, what can we do up here in Grand Rapids? Start creating an "atmosphere" that makes people from outside West Michigan believe that they will be able to create great memories here. Because, after you have gone to a museum or a beach or whatever, what is left to experience is the emotion of the moment.

That, by the way, is why we love Grand Rapids. We have some serious emotional attachment and some great memories that have allowed us to see all that can be offered by our great city.

Go team!

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There is virtually no connection between downtown and the lakeshore. If I'm a tourist or convention attender in Grand Rapids during the summer w/o a car, how am I going to go to the beach (Holland, Grand Haven, Saugutuck, Muskegon)? Transport via the Grand River would be an option and scenic at parts but would require a lot of work to make it happen (dreding, bridge raising, etc.). Some sort of rail link would probably be a more ideal and do-able solution.

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There is virtually no connection between downtown and the lakeshore. If I'm a tourist or convention attender in Grand Rapids during the summer w/o a car, how am I going to go to the beach (Holland, Grand Haven, Saugutuck, Muskegon)? Transport via the Grand River would be an option and scenic at parts but would require a lot of work to make it happen (dreding, bridge raising, etc.). Some sort of rail link would probably be a more ideal and do-able solution.

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I think we just need something unique. We all know people aren't going to come to Grand Rapids for a "huge city" feel; they'll go to Chicago for that. We aren't going to have a bunch of 80+ story skyscrapers towering over packed sidewalks and 8-lane urban boulevards jammed with yellow cabs and double-decker buses. Grand Rapids just needs something unique. I'm not sure what, but maybe it could be a certain type of retail feel, I don't know. Maybe some out-of-this-world architecture, or maybe a European type of feel. Whatever it is, it has to be something that no other city can boast.

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I think we just need something unique. We all know people aren't going to come to Grand Rapids for a "huge city" feel; they'll go to Chicago for that. We aren't going to have a bunch of 80+ story skyscrapers towering over packed sidewalks and 8-lane urban boulevards jammed with yellow cabs and double-decker buses. Grand Rapids just needs something unique. I'm not sure what, but maybe it could be a certain type of retail feel, I don't know. Maybe some out-of-this-world architecture, or maybe a European type of feel. Whatever it is, it has to be something that no other city can boast.

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...

Another missing ingredient is the lack of hotel rooms. GR has missed out on bids to host lage-scale events such as the NCAA tournament because it couldn't offer enough local beds. This is definitely a chicken or egg in which comes forst thing - do you attract events by building hotels or do you build hotels because of event demands? I think we are moving in the right direction, especially if the North Monroe and Gilmore project move along like planned.

...

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Another missing ingredient is the lack of hotel rooms. GR has missed out on bids to host lage-scale events such as the NCAA tournament because it couldn't offer enough local beds. This is definitely a chicken or egg in which comes forst thing - do you attract events by building hotels or do you build hotels because of event demands? I think we are moving in the right direction, especially if the North Monroe and Gilmore project move along like planned.

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Well I don't mean to hijack this thread, but I wasn't sure what thread was best for this and I think that it relates to tourism downtown.

I was walking on Pearl Street yesterday and this is what I see in front of me:

2467817508_4a10fd9dc0_b.jpg

I don't think a tourist would be very impressed by a pile of garbage in the their travel path. As a resident of GR I also didn't find this encouraging to pedestrian activity downtown. At least I was able to walk around it, but if someone in a wheelchair wanted to go around. The only option would be to turn around and go to the crosswalk and use the sidewalk across the street. There wasn't enough room between the garbage and Flannigan's seating area to get through.

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I don't think a tourist would be very impressed by a pile of garbage in the their travel path.

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I'm not defending it, but at least it's in cans. The sidewalks of downtown Manhattan, NY are permanently strewn with garbage thrown to the curb and it doesn't seem to suffer from a lack of tourism. Admittedly there are many reasons that a tourist goes to NYC and almost certainly they contribute to the problem.

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what got me upset about this wasn't the fact that the garbage was there, but that the sidewalk was completely blocked.

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Well I don't mean to hijack this thread, but I wasn't sure what thread was best for this and I think that it relates to tourism downtown.

I was walking on Pearl Street yesterday and this is what I see in front of me:

2467817508_4a10fd9dc0_b.jpg

I don't think a tourist would be very impressed by a pile of garbage in the their travel path. As a resident of GR I also didn't find this encouraging to pedestrian activity downtown. At least I was able to walk around it, but if someone in a wheelchair wanted to go around. The only option would be to turn around and go to the crosswalk and use the sidewalk across the street. There wasn't enough room between the garbage and Flannigan's seating area to get through.

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Well I don't mean to hijack this thread, but I wasn't sure what thread was best for this and I think that it relates to tourism downtown.

I don't think a tourist would be very impressed by a pile of garbage in the their travel path. As a resident of GR I also didn't find this encouraging to pedestrian activity downtown. At least I was able to walk around it, but if someone in a wheelchair wanted to go around. The only option would be to turn around and go to the crosswalk and use the sidewalk across the street. There wasn't enough room between the garbage and Flannigan's seating area to get through.

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I know I touted this earlier, but some sort of large-scale, nationally-watched tournament would be a great shot in the arm for GR. Whether its an NCAA basketball, hockey (yes!) or some other college or even amateur sport, a large-scale attention-grabber would be fantastic.

Along this note, I do believe (and I have siad for years) that the Whitecaps and GR for that matter really missedthe boat when they built 5/3 (Old Kent!!) Park outside the city. I rarely rave about Lansing, but they did it right when it comes to their downtown ballpark. I have friends that don't even like baseball that go to Lugnuts games just for the atmosphere and then walk to bars/restaurants. A DT ball field (on the west side of the river just south of Fulton - or on the east side) would have been phenomenal.

I know that GR can't hang its hat on regional sports and national tournaments, but there aren't many other things that will make a crazed fan from Denver fly out for.

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I know I touted this earlier, but some sort of large-scale, nationally-watched tournament would be a great shot in the arm for GR. Whether its an NCAA basketball, hockey (yes!) or some other college or even amateur sport, a large-scale attention-grabber would be fantastic.

Along this note, I do believe (and I have siad for years) that the Whitecaps and GR for that matter really missedthe boat when they built 5/3 (Old Kent!!) Park outside the city. I rarely rave about Lansing, but they did it right when it comes to their downtown ballpark. I have friends that don't even like baseball that go to Lugnuts games just for the atmosphere and then walk to bars/restaurants. A DT ball field (on the west side of the river just south of Fulton - or on the east side) would have been phenomenal.

I know that GR can't hang its hat on regional sports and national tournaments, but there aren't many other things that will make a crazed fan from Denver fly out for.

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Midland's new baseball stadium, Dow Diamond, is also downtown. Well actually it's about two blocks from where downtown ends but apparently Midland is using that as a reason to extend their downtown are to the stadium so it sounds like it could lead to a lot of development. The stadium is just starting it's second season, I went to a game there a couple of weeks ago with my friend who lives there and it was great! The best part was being able to walk to the stadium, no need to worry about parking.

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About tourism NCAA BBall tournaments would be great, although right now I could only see a possible first round games due to the arenas size. That is one thing that I never understood as the arena was made to be able to expand and has great attendance, I think there is a need to fill out that gian wall with seats.

About the downtown stadium, I've always though that it would be cool downtwn or at least faced to the south with the river and a view of downtown. Toledo's field is the best smallcity field that I know about. Rated the best minor leage field

Fort Wayne is also supposed to replace their stadium, one that is about the age of 5/3 and move it downtown. I know its not possible but I to would be awsome to have a baseball / football stadium build off butterworth at the old dump site along the river. A better ooption would be the city owned compound that was to be the failed $Billion Faust development just south of the s-curve or cramped into the Amway owned parking / charley's crab lots.

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What this town needs is a cohesive tourism strategy.

Yesterday I mentioned a museum pass. Today my sweetie and I were enjoying the Public Museum. In the gift shop was a woman from Kansas wanting to know how to get to that large body of water about 30 minutes west of here.

Why are there not state highway maps in the museums? Why no tourist brochures? The sales clerk was somewhat helpful, but it was postcard-shopping moi who pointed the visitor towards the eponymously-named street (there's not a very good street map in the tourist brochure that she did have).

Oh, and the National Geographic expo presently there...bring a small child for full benefit. I was hoping for something a little less basic.

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What this town needs is a cohesive tourism strategy ... Why are there not state highway maps in the museums? Why no tourist brochures?

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I came across a similar thing in Muskegon the other night when I crossed "Airline Way" and there wasn't a clue given as to which way I should turn to get to the airport. 50:50 chance, right? Glad I wasn't in a rush to catch a flight!

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Nothing much going on so continuing :offtopic:

. . . I have no idea why it's named that, it used to be Highway 16 between Muskegon and GR before I-96. My guess is it's named Airline road because it leads to Getty Street where the original Muskegon Airport was in the early 20th century.

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Nothing much going on so continuing :offtopic:

I'm not curious enough to do the research but it could be that the naming of Muskegon's Air Line Highway had nothing to do with it being near the airport. Back around a hundred years ago it was relatively common to use the term air-line to describe a road or railroad that followed a straight and level line especially if it was a new alternative to a more meandering route. There are several Airline Roads around the country that were named this way.

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