DDA shifts $218K to help businesses damaged by rioters

Grand Rapids

Inside looking out through shattered windows after a riot in downtown Grand Rapids. (June 1, 2020)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids businesses damaged by rioters are getting some help from the city.

Wednesday morning, the Downtown Development Authority approved shifting the $218,031 remaining for this year’s downtown enhancement grants to business recovery and relief.

“We essentially want to make anyone that’s in the downtown district that was damaged during the riots and those events… eligible for a grant,” explained Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. President and CEO Tim Kelly.

More than 100 businesses were damaged during the riot May 30 into May 31. The city’s preliminary estimate puts storefront damages at $448,000, but Kelly said they “expect it to grow quite a bit higher” when losses from looting and the disruption to business are factored in.

>>Photos: Murals cover shattered windows week after riot

Kelly said some of the damages will be covered through the building owners’ insurance, but “we’re not confident that will cover everything.”

The DDA on Wednesday also approved streamlining the grant process and waiving the application and 50% match requirement to ensure businesses get the funding faster.

Kelly expects most business requests will be under $15,000; any bids higher than that will need to go to the city’s economic recovery committee for approval.

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