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daniel nudnik

and for non-lurkers

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since the non-posting readers are saying hi, maybe we could say a few words about ourselves too? it seems like all of us have an interesting stake in GR, I say let's share it.

I'm Dan F, I'm a 4th-year college student from Grand Rapids (by way of Detroit) presently living in Ann Arbor. I've been interested in urban development and what people now call smart growth since my early teen years. The hopeful mood and action-packed atmosphere of the late 1990s was the initial backdrop for my interest, though in the last few years I've gotten serious and active about making sure the right policies prevail in the GR area and around the state. seems a lot of people have done the same thing.

I'm on staff at the newspaper at UM and plan to either find an internship in GR or go to grad school in Urban Planning at McGill next year. I love this board. I think we are sweet.

too much information I know...hopefully at least one person will follow suit and say a few words :)

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I'll follow. I'm Joe. I am Director of Marketing for a currency trading firm in Grand Rapids (Ada actually). I live and breathe architecture, and actually dream about it many nights. I would have been an architect if it weren't for the fact that my math skills are terrible and I always give myself a 10% margin of error. ;)

I've been driving around Grand Rapids, thinking of what it could be since Plaza Towers (Eastbank) was being built in the late eighties, early nineties. My tastes lean towards older architecture but lately I have been swept up in very modern architecture.

When I grow up I want to renovate old buildings. ;)

Joe

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I just started posting here looking for a place to talk to people about whats happening locally. In the mid 1990s when I was in my teens, and aware of what was happening, I desperately wanted to move from the GR area. The area seemed stagnant, and other then the development of the late 80's early 90s everyhing just seed to "progress" on, nothing entirely exciting or bold really took place, everything happened as it was needed.

The VA Arena, a triumph for the city was really 5 yrs overdue. The convention center was also IMO 5 yrs overdue (I can remember going to the auto show, and thinking to myself, this is a lot like being in a High School gym, and going gym to gym to see cars) I got worried about the impending sale of GR to Devos and Van Andel (which I think won't happen, with all the new projects slated for GR.) I wept when the massive building at Lyon and Ottawa never went through (if in 5 yrs the 1700 units are built and sold, then its a definate possibility again)

I graduated in 2001, just finished college with my Comp Sci Degree, and I am currently venturing out on my own for the first time.

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I am Michael, a highschool senior. I have lived in SE GR all my life (aside from 6 months in Argentina). I am a former student member of the GR City Planning Commission. I have been interested in buildings and city life for as long as I can remember.

I plan to study pre-architecture and a art history/communications/philosophy (undecided ;) ) BA, followed hopefully by a dual MA in architecture and urban design. My favorite architectual styles are Postmodernism and most historical. My least favorite are the Brutalist and International movements (and pretty much anything this city had built in the late 60's and early 70's!)

I found this forum while searching while searching for info on all the latest downtown developments that I missed while living in S. America. I'm very glad to have found a forum by informed and insightful people who are as passionate about GR's development as I am (as one could imagine, most of my peers aren't. -_- ) Keep up all the great discussions!

-Michael

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Westside lifer. I am a fairly young IT nerd. Well, not that nerdy, but architecture and urban planning have always been my other passions (other than women and computers - told you I was a nerd).

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Metrogrkid here!! I am the President of Michigan Black Expo, Inc. (MBEI) (www.mbei.org), Michigan's non-profit social change conglomerate of Africentric events, products and services. Our State Headquarters is in downtown Grand Rapids. MBEI exists to create unity, camaraderie and prosperity among all people from the universal cultural components that spring from the African-descended Experience as well as to institute a new era wherein Metropolitan Grand Rapids becomes a statewide hub of diversity and Africentric intellect, commerce and culture.

After nine years of existence, I am still amazed at the number of people that STILL don't get the unifying purpose of BLACK in our corporate moniker: BLACK in our name is not meant to seperate one culture from another - it is meant to make MBEI stand out to our AFRICENTRIC audience; AFRICENTRIC refers to ANY human being (READ: African-, Asia-, Latin- and European-descended) that finds enjoyment, identity, belonging, friendship and bonding within any of the unifying and universal cultural components that spring from the African-descended Experience; BLACK identifies the cultural framework through which MBEI endeavors to abate racism, improve society for all and bring a majority of all people together.

One of my favorite MBEI mantras: "Onward we go . . . . toward that distant horizon where human affairs have been submitted to the indwelling essence of GOD, where our differences will be regarded as the precious gifts from GOD that they are and where the ignorance and intolerance of today and before will be but an ancient and unwelcome human memory . . . .".

To all of this, I dedicate my determination to succeed . . . .

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Metrokid,

So that is who you are. :) I have actually read many of your statements in the press about downtown development and always thought you got it. It's great to have you in the forum and great to have you as an advocate for the city and community. Keep up the good work!

Joe

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Metrokid,

So that is who you are. :) I have actually read many of your statements in the press about downtown development and always thought you got it. It's great to have you in the forum and great to have you as an advocate for the city and community. Keep up the good work!

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thanks Joe:

You get it also. On that note, help me transform this place. MBEI gives us a vehicle to do so at a rate that will allow us to see and enjoy the transformation while we are still young enough to enjoy it.

-Metrogrkid

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Metrogrkid here!!  I am the President of Michigan Black Expo, Inc. (MBEI) (www.mbei.org), Michigan's non-profit social change conglomerate of Africentric events, products and services.  Our State Headquarters is in downtown Grand Rapids.  MBEI exists to create unity, camaraderie and prosperity among all people from the universal cultural components that spring from the African-descended Experience as well as to institute a new era wherein Metropolitan Grand Rapids becomes a statewide hub of diversity and Africentric intellect, commerce and culture.

After nine years of existence, I am still amazed at the number of people that STILL don't get the unifying purpose of BLACK in our corporate moniker:  BLACK in our name is not meant to seperate one culture from another - it is meant to make MBEI stand out to our AFRICENTRIC audience; AFRICENTRIC refers to ANY human being (READ: African-, Asia-, Latin- and European-descended) that finds enjoyment, identity, belonging, friendship and bonding within any of the unifying and universal cultural components that spring from the African-descended Experience; BLACK identifies the cultural framework through which MBEI endeavors to abate racism, improve society for all and bring a majority of all people together.

One of my favorite MBEI mantras: "Onward we go . . . . toward that distant horizon where human affairs have been submitted to the indwelling essence of GOD, where our differences will be regarded as the precious gifts from GOD that they are and where the ignorance and intolerance of today and before will be but an ancient and unwelcome human memory . . . .".

To all of this, I dedicate my determination to succeed . . . .

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Metrogrkid -

On what level is there student involvment in the MBEI?

- Michael Rodriguez

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I just signed up here. I run the site http://grwifi.net and spotted this board in the list of sites that had referred people to mine. I'm a recent (May 2004) emigree to Grand Rapids from Reading, UK.

I'm definitely a lover of dense cities, and have found GR hard to adjust to at times, particularly since I've never learned to drive. Having become involved in Local First and various other initiatives, I've discovered that there's more happening in the city than meets the eye. The future of the city, particularly environmental sustainability and the rejuvenation of 'downtown' are my current passions.

By trade, I'm a web developer working freelance for a number of firms locally and further afield.

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First of all, welcome jystewart to GR. I look forward to hearing your international perspective on these issues.

As for myself, I am a native of the Grand Rapids area and I grew up in Alpine Township. We used to live on top of the ridge and from my bedroom window I had a great view of downtown GR at night. I think it was that view and my curiosity about history that sparked my interest in Grand Rapids. I have lived in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH for a time and I really liked both of those cities, but I am glad to be home. I am also glad to be a part of this forum where these important issues can be discussed. This is great time for our city and I hope it continues to grow in a smart way.

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I guess I'll introduce myself on the non-lurkers thread. I have been a lurker for several months, but I hope to start actively contributing to the discussions.

I grew up in GR and now live in Comstock Park on the hill overlooking GR with my wife and 16-month-old son. I'm passionate about the revitalization of downtown and have really enjoyed how this forum has started to really take off. I'm also interested in mass transit and the light rail idea. I hope we get such a system in my lifetime.

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I have also been a lurker for some time and will be more involved now that I am not so busy. I was born and raised in GR and have been here my entire life. I've always had a passion for a better urban environment here in GR.This forum is getting very interesting and exciting with many new people and great news (Metropolitan Center!). I can't wait to see what will happen with many new developments in the downtown area.

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I stumbled across this site last year when I was looking for info on the Jow Moch Towers project, trying to find out why construction hadn't started yet. I must saw this site is exactly what I was looking for. Until I found this site I was relying on emporis for news and updates. :( What a mistake that was! I lived in GR for the last 17 years and currently live in Walker off of Alpine. I been interested in urban development ever since the started building Plaza Towers just after I moved here. I'm amazed on how much positive development is going on downtown. I wish I had a nice digital camera to take pictures of all the progress. Right now I most excited about he River House project and will be following it closely.

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Hello,

I am a student from Grand Rapids currently studying in Spain (since september). I recently came across this site searching for new development ocurring in Grand Rapids since I have been gone. This forum is great. I have always been interested in development and have hoped that Grand Rapids would grow to its potential one day. My plans were to move to Chicago as soon as I graduated (winter 2005), to live in a city filled with life and activity. All of this info. is making me want to stay in GR and watch things grow. When I come home in june i hope to see the new hotel started. Also, very exciting news about the Metropolitain Center.

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GR will be a nice place to live/work in the next 5 years.

I can't wait until the Union Spuare condos are built. Hopefully more such places are built, that will surely help bring people into downtown.

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hello all,

i am a young architect here in town and found this site looking for some info on a side project. i am pretty well connected around gr. so most of the things that pop up on here are projects for clients or friends of mine in the area. due to client confd. clause i cant speak up on most.....but i will always try to add to the conversation.... silly humor mostly..oh and i do know some people involved with the blk expo...calenders

what up rudy!

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I have also been a lurker for some time and will be more involved now that I am not so busy. I was born and raised in GR and have been here my entire life. I've always had a passion for a better urban environment here in GR.This forum is getting very interesting and exciting with many new people and great news (Metropolitan Center!).  I can't wait to see what will happen with many new developments in the downtown area.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

-_- Josh:

Now that I have read your above entry, you know that if I go over to "[email protected]" and check for your contact info and it's not there, I will be doing this ----> :whistling: and tapping my fingers impatiently on my desk.

Time is ticking . . . . it's time to inspire the masses with our collective progressiveness and vision.

-metrogrkid

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Hey Freddie:

I was raised in GR, NE side, left 20 some years ago. I have lived in NYC and then Atlanta for 16 years. Came back for some family reasons and can report mixed emotions about the move. Atlanta has very strong minority communities (I am gay, you are black, I assume, and though many people deny the parallels between our experiences, I believe we are on a similar path for equality). The reality I experienced in Atlanta was that it is as segregated as GR, just richer. There are large parts of the city that where wealthy black families live in beautiful surroundings, but you do not see white families there. I moved into the SE side of GR, and have a mixed race street, however, there still is not a lot of socializing going on. The neighborhoods that are predominately black on the SE side however, are home to some of the most beautiful historic neighborhoods in the city. Yes, some are a bit run down, but at least they did not get torn down for urban renewal like they did in Atlanta.

As to the other benefits/challenges of living here, the housing is inexpensive compared to most other places, the downtown is really starting to "happen", and the summers are awesome(sleep with windows open, gentle breezes and no AC!). The downsides are definitely the slow economy. I am in the design field and there just not enough jobs out there. If you can get a job, it may be worth a try. Living close to family will never be something you regret later, I can verify that.

GRguy

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Hey Freddie:

I was raised in GR, NE side, left 20 some years ago. I have lived in NYC and then Atlanta for 16 years. Came back for some family reasons and can report mixed emotions about the move. Atlanta has very strong minority communities (I am gay, you are black, I assume, and though many people deny the parallels between our experiences, I believe we are on a similar path for equality). The reality I experienced in Atlanta was that it is as segregated as GR, just richer. There are large parts of the city that where wealthy black families live in beautiful surroundings, but you do not see white families there. I moved into the SE side of GR, and have a mixed race street, however, there still is not a lot of socializing going on.  The neighborhoods that are predominately black on the SE side however, are home to some of the most beautiful historic neighborhoods in the city. Yes, some are a bit run down, but at least they did not get torn down for urban renewal like they did in Atlanta.

As to the other benefits/challenges of living here, the housing is inexpensive compared to most other places, the downtown is really starting to "happen", and the summers are awesome(sleep with windows open, gentle breezes and no AC!). The downsides are definitely the slow economy. I am in the design field and there just not enough jobs out there. If you can get a job, it may be worth a try. Living close to family will never be something you regret later, I can verify that.

GRguy

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

What

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