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RWaz08

What should be next for downtown

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I have read numerous blogs about developments that should or should not be pursued in downtown Grand Rapids but I've had a hard time grasping one thing...what does downtown Grand Rapids really need? What is the city missing that just drives you crazy? If having a ballpark or ampitheatre will not stimulate downtown, what will? I know we are in a tough environment and we are going through one of the most difficult times in our lifetime, but Grand Rapids is and will continue to grow. What should be next? What will help this great city thrive in today's economy?

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The biggest thing that could happen to DT is a successful implementation of the envisioned Streetcar line and the proposed BRT line and their subsequent expansion into other parts of the city and greater metro area. Once these things are established and working we should then be looking at taking cars off the freeways by installing commuter rail lines to get people to and from work. BRT's and any form of fixed guideway transit systems world spur allot of investment along their routes, slow down urban sprawl, save on energy costs, and help clean up the environment.

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) Something of a regional draw, including retail

) A large area employer setting up shop downtown

) Something to attract people to the riverfront (kayak run, etc.)

) Expanded and enhanced mass transit to take pressure off of the parking system

) Light rail streetcars, on Monroe to start but then expanded from downtown to Gaslight Village

I think all of these things would help re jump-start the residential portion downtown, which in turn would spur more development (movie theaters, more retail, markets, etc.).

A ballpark and amphitheater will help spur downtown, if placed strategically to create an entertainment "critical mass". Ionia is almost there, but just needs some more infill.

What do you think downtown needs RWaz? And welcome btw!

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Nice. Would that be next to Van Andel or closer to the governement building?

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) Something of a regional draw, including retail

) A large area employer setting up shop downtown

) Something to attract people to the riverfront (kayak run, etc.)

) Expanded and enhanced mass transit to take pressure off of the parking system

) Light rail streetcars, on Monroe to start but then expanded from downtown to Gaslight Village

I think all of these things would help re jump-start the residential portion downtown, which in turn would spur more development (movie theaters, more retail, markets, etc.).

A ballpark and amphitheater will help spur downtown, if placed strategically to create an entertainment "critical mass". Ionia is almost there, but just needs some more infill.

What do you think downtown needs RWaz? And welcome btw!

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The fact of the matter is that what we need is consistent growth in all areas (retail, office, entertainment, etc.) in order for Grand Rapids to continue to evolve.

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Frequent and high speed train service to Chicago.

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A year-round farmer's market/retail avenue that coordinates with the streetcar line, showcasing Michigan's abundance of natural food resources and allows for current street-level buildings to take advantage of an influx of customers from around the GR area. If it is done right, it will draw people from all over Michigan and the Midwest as an added tourist attraction to GRMetro. It needs to be covered (or have winter coverage options) and semi-heated (winter again) and should tie Calder Plaza together with the rest of walkable GRDT.

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It could effectively make Grand Rapids a suburb of Chicago. It might help convince people to locate here, and eventually do business here knowing Chicago is just a 1.5 hour train ride away.

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...Downtown needs people. End of story. Aimless foot traffic and residents. I think the question shouldn't be what the next big thing should be, but what would make you go downtown more or move there.

I would go downtown more if there was some better shopping like what you see in downtown Holland, Rockford or Uptown, where my wife and I regulary spend our Saturday afternoons....

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How about a really cool zoo that would be a destination and attraction...or a 2 billion dollar development downtown by some Atlanta developer :shades:

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Nope. That will just make downtown Grand Rapids a parking lot for people in EGR and Ada to commute to Chicago. And on the business front I don't think you're giving the region enough credit, I can't see how shaving a few hours in travel time is create any opportunities that locals aren't already aggressively pursuing.

Downtown needs people. End of story. Aimless foot traffic and residents. I think the question shouldn't be what the next big thing should be, but what would make you go downtown more or move there.

I would go downtown more if there was some better shopping like what you see in downtown Holland, Rockford or Uptown, where my wife and I regulary spend our Saturday afternoons.

I would move downtown if I could find a nice condo for less than what I could buy a Heritage Hill mansion or a block in most any other inner ring neighborhood.

A baseball park or street cars aren't going to make either of those happen.

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Nope. That will just make downtown Grand Rapids a parking lot for people in EGR and Ada to commute to Chicago. And on the business front I don't think you're giving the region enough credit, I can't see how shaving a few hours in travel time is create any opportunities that locals aren't already aggressively pursuing.

Downtown needs people. End of story. Aimless foot traffic and residents. I think the question shouldn't be what the next big thing should be, but what would make you go downtown more or move there.

I would go downtown more if there was some better shopping like what you see in downtown Holland, Rockford or Uptown, where my wife and I regulary spend our Saturday afternoons.

I would move downtown if I could find a nice condo for less than what I could buy a Heritage Hill mansion or a block in most any other inner ring neighborhood.

A baseball park or street cars aren't going to make either of those happen.

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:good:

A space needle with revolving restaurant tall enough to feature sunset views of Lake Michigan.

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Yep, they're called stations.

But hey, a lot of people seem to agree with you. They must be talking to those five, maybe six interests that own all the undeveloped property along that Monroe Avenue line, the same folks for the most part that owned it when DeVos Place was supposed to bring in all kinds of development. One did build a really nice hotel...

But I'm biased on this, I think transit should be used to connect areas were people are to places they want to go to, not to vacant lots. Have the track turn left or right at Michigan Street and it'll be a good idea.

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I re-assert my assertion that a train station downtown that's heavily used will be a great catalyst for downtown. Downtowns exist for it's efficiency. It's all about being in close proximity to other things. Think Grand Central Station in New York. Perhaps it wouldn't be that big, but it's far more than just a parking lot for commuters. With tons of people coming and going retail is sure to follow. By itself it might not be a big deal, but as a catalyst, it's huge.

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just think of all the tourists. If I lived in chicago I would jump a the chance to visit the center of the office furniture universe and the birthplace of amway. other than that I don't know unless they have relatives that live here.

on a more serious note though, it would help sell grand rapids to young professionals who might have job opportunities here in the life sciences or maybe in business. grand rapids all 99 percent of everything you could want and when you want that last 1 % chicago is just a 2 hour train ride away.

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I too would like to see more basic needs retail in DT to attract residences to the core. I would like to see town homes and condos close to the core that are able to accommodate working and middle class families. By attracting this demographic one would take cars off the roads by reducing commute time, reduce urban sprawl by retaining these families in the urban core instead of them moving out to the 'burbs to rise children. Plus it would give the core sustained street life.

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Yep, they're called stations.

But hey, a lot of people seem to agree with you. They must be talking to those five, maybe six interests that own all the undeveloped property along that Monroe Avenue line, the same folks for the most part that owned it when DeVos Place was supposed to bring in all kinds of development. One did build a really nice hotel...

But I'm biased on this, I think transit should be used to connect areas were people are to places they want to go to, not to vacant lots. Have the track turn left or right at Michigan Street and it'll be a good idea.

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