Artistic upgrades on tap for Grand Rapids’ ‘social zones’

Grand Rapids

A 2020 photo shows the “Social Zone” created on Bridge Street near Summer Avenue NW in Grand Rapids. (Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. via Twitter)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids’ social zones will soon become works of art.

On Wednesday, the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority approved $47,620 to hire the Lions & Rabbits gallery in Grand Rapids to paint the 147 concrete barriers lining the outdoor dining spaces. The DDA also agreed to nearly $33,000 to buy more outdoor patio furniture for the expanding program.

Grand Rapids’ first social zones opened on city sidewalks and streets last summer to provide bars and restaurants more outdoor seating amid indoor dining restrictions prompted by the pandemic.

Last month, the Grand Rapids City Commission approved extending the social zone program until November.

More than 110 businesses have received special use permits for operating in social zones.

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