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NorthCoast

Georgetown Twp. To Possibly Consider DDA?

35 posts in this topic

Yes I know its suburbia...

Since this the community I grew up in I can't help to have a vested interest in this topic. I only wish I was still living in W. Michigan to be an active participant in it.

http://www.mlive.com/grandvalleyadvance/in...s_right_fo.html

I can't help but wonder if this idea was in any way rooted in the letter I sent the Twp., containing this very thought amidst other things, about a year or so ago. In any case, I'm thinking of submitting some ideas for improvements and just was curious if anyone had any interesting ideas/takes/thoughts on the matter.

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Isn't it fun to see your ideas reach the surface?

The twp for which I was the planning & zoning administrator, a few years back, had a DDA, a short commercial strip along a state highway. You could tell you were "downtown" by the light pole banners.

Tax increment financing is a unique possibility. I find it amusing when it's applied to an area that lacks the critical mass to be accurately described as a downtown.

Monroe Center area: certainly. Rogers Plaza along 28th Street: not really. Georgetown Twp: where is the central business district?

ETA: If you couldn't possibly host a NYEve ball drop, you really are not a downtown.

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It would be an interesting idea for Jenison to get a DDA. But for Jenison to get its own identity, it will need to change the master plan to allow for something like what East Grand Rapids has done to Gaslight Village.

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I find it amusing when it's applied to an area that lacks the critical mass to be accurately described as a downtown.

Monroe Center area: certainly. Rogers Plaza along 28th Street: not really. Georgetown Twp: where is the central business district?

ETA: If you couldn't possibly host a NYEve ball drop, you really are not a downtown.

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It would be an interesting idea for Jenison to get a DDA. But for Jenison to get its own identity, it will need to change the master plan to allow for something like what East Grand Rapids has done to Gaslight Village.

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Isn't it fun to see your ideas reach the surface?

The twp for which I was the planning & zoning administrator, a few years back, had a DDA, a short commercial strip along a state highway. You could tell you were "downtown" by the light pole banners.

Tax increment financing is a unique possibility. I find it amusing when it's applied to an area that lacks the critical mass to be accurately described as a downtown.

Monroe Center area: certainly. Rogers Plaza along 28th Street: not really. Georgetown Twp: where is the central business district?

ETA: If you couldn't possibly host a NYEve ball drop, you really are not a downtown.

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Georgetown/Jenison's downtown does need some help. You need look no further than the giant, gaping eyesore of the mostly-vacant strip mall on the south side of Chicago Drive, behind our cherished Taco Bell. When I first moved here, that property held a Kmart. When that closed, other retailers - Big Lots, Dollar General, ABC warehouse - all moved in and out. Now, the only thing left is Bo-Rics, which I am informed has a long lease and is there for the long haul. This property needs help. Great access to 196 and Chicago Drive, lots of traffic, probably a great opportunity if someone has the right idea.

I would consider a "downtown" area to be the blocks surrounding Cottonwood's intersection with Baldwin and Chicago Drive, all the way to 196. It's a lot of space, lots of different owners, lots of different places. Not really cohesive. And anyone who has ever tried to cross Chicago Drive or Cottonwood around there on foot can tell you it's not walkable. The place was designed for cars. It would be nice to reorganize the whole thing. But then again, there's something to be said about how organic it is. It's not cohesive, it doesn't have some designer's pen prefit McMall feel to it. It looks like it evolved on its own. It's real. Seems to me like the whole thing must have evolved around Meijer. (Can anyone elaborate on the history of that spot?)

And why don't we have a coffee shop anywhere around there? 7-11's departure was a perfect opportunity to put in another meet-up place. And, as I understand, it will become another Peppino's.

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Georgetown/Jenison's downtown does need some help. You need look no further than the giant, gaping eyesore of the mostly-vacant strip mall on the south side of Chicago Drive, behind our cherished Taco Bell. When I first moved here, that property held a Kmart. When that closed, other retailers - Big Lots, Dollar General, ABC warehouse - all moved in and out. Now, the only thing left is Bo-Rics, which I am informed has a long lease and is there for the long haul. This property needs help. Great access to 196 and Chicago Drive, lots of traffic, probably a great opportunity if someone has the right idea.

I would consider a "downtown" area to be the blocks surrounding Cottonwood's intersection with Baldwin and Chicago Drive, all the way to 196. It's a lot of space, lots of different owners, lots of different places. Not really cohesive. And anyone who has ever tried to cross Chicago Drive or Cottonwood around there on foot can tell you it's not walkable. The place was designed for cars. It would be nice to reorganize the whole thing. But then again, there's something to be said about how organic it is. It's not cohesive, it doesn't have some designer's pen prefit McMall feel to it. It looks like it evolved on its own. It's real. Seems to me like the whole thing must have evolved around Meijer. (Can anyone elaborate on the history of that spot?)

And why don't we have a coffee shop anywhere around there? 7-11's departure was a perfect opportunity to put in another meet-up place. And, as I understand, it will become another Peppino's.

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I could go on but that is more than anyone probably needs or cares to know.

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Might I suggest the book 'Bend in the River'. Its a book all about Jenison-Grandville history. However, it is really old and long out of print. The respective communty's libraries should both have a couple of copies though. It was published around 1972 right before I-196 was finished. I believe it was sold to raise funds to save the Tiffany House which itself is a story of victory of historic preservation. Sadly, the same could not be said for the rest of the houses or the old interurban depot on that block. The highway ramp simply had to go somewhere. Anyway, the book is filled with some good history/nostalgia and some nice vintage pictures. If I ever come back to GR, one of my pet projects I would love to do is to develop a interactive map using GIS detailing local history. Each layer would represent a different point in history and as you click through you could watch the streets sprawl out, businesses change hands, and photos evolve.

Back to the DDA. I have the day off tomorrow. Perhaps I'll use it to research some suburban retrofit design techniques and ideas.

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I always think of Jenison as more a state of mind than a place that might have an actual downtown. I think of it as the place where the prototypical Grand Rapids Press reader lives. I think of the movie Pleasantville.

. . . One of the earliest modern commercial structures built was actually what is now known as Cottonwood Center. It originally was a strip plaza that was home to a Prose Variety 5&10 Store, Zondervan, and a Eberhard's grocery.

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I always think of Jenison as more a state of mind than a place that might have an actual downtown. I think of it as the place where the prototypical Grand Rapids Press reader lives. I think of the movie Pleasantville.

j3shafrer I enjoyed your narrative. I have just one insignificant nit to pick. The Cottonwood Center building originally opened as a Kroger store. When it opened they had the employees go door to door to drum up business. It didn

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I grew up in Jenison as well. It was never meant to be or have a destination. Always a bedroom. Cut off from everything else by the tracks, the river, the highway and Chicago Drive.

It reminds me of Jefferton from Tom Goes to the Mayor on Adult Swim.

Besides, Jenison has a seamy underbelly.

www.xanga.com/toughgrowinupinjenison

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Jenison? A state of mind? Now that's a little scary. ;)

What that area needs is a charette process, focused on what can be done to retrofit a true, pedestrian friendly downtown into the area.

Look how successful it was on 28th street in Wyoming! :lol:

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Besides, Jenison has a seamy underbelly.

www.xanga.com/toughgrowinupinjenison

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And when you try to talk to someone in Jenison about this they go in complete denial and claim this is just a figment of someone's imagination.

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And when you try to talk to someone in Jenison about this they go in complete denial and claim this is just a figment of someone's imagination.

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The writer of TGUIJ apparently is chronicling the lives of several bums. I applaud his perseverance to make it through all the rioting and corruption rampant in the 'burbs. This needs to be brought to light.

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What a total buzzkill about Chick'n Lick'n. That place had good nosh. As a former Jenison resident I can say that I found the TGUIJ blog to be hilarious. The comment about Maplewood Lake was priceless. You couldn't pay me to eat a fish out of that pond.

Anywho, I never did figure out if Jenison's downtown was at Baldwin & Cottonwood around the Meijer or further west at Baldwin and 20th Avenue around the D&W. It's got to be somewhere along Baldwin because that's the streets the parades always drive down and everyone knows that parades go through the downtown.

I will say this though, as far as bedroom communities go I you could do worse than Jenison. One other thing about that area. It always seemed like there was a heavy concentration of duplexes around there. Hmm.

:dontknow:

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I sure hope that Chikn Lickn returns. I grew up on it and now my kids love it to.

In regards to "Jenison and where the downtown is" who cares. If you get past the no real downtown, and the fact that there was no apparent master plan as the area grew, when all is said and done it was and still is a great place to live. I have lived in the Chicago suburbs and the L.A. suburbs and now have returned to Jenison. It took moving away and then having kids of my own before I truly respected my "hometown". Peace and quiet, safety, convenience (shopping and restaurants close by), good education, affordable housing, nice parks and just a great overall quality of life. For all of its quirks it still is a great place to grow up. That's why we returned, for my kids.

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