Grand Rapids to host hearing on social districts

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., (WOOD) — The city of Grand Rapids is asking for the community’s input on social districts. 

On Tuesday morning at the Grand Rapids city commission meeting, commissioners voted to move forward with a public hearing asking the public if they should continue, modify or discontinue social districts. The hearing is scheduled for Dec. 7. Commissioners did not list a specific time. 

Social districts, which allow people to move freely through shops, restaurants and bars with alcoholic drinks, were installed in Grand Rapids in the summer of 2020. The zones were originally designed to help give restaurants and bars the ability to serve more customers despite COVID-19 restrictions.

There are social zones currently in the Creston neighborhood, at 4th and Stocking Street, Michigan Street, Wealthy Street, West Fulton Street, West Leonard Street and in downtown Grand Rapids.

There was also a social zone on Bridge Street NW but barricades and seating there were recently removed due to traffic safety concerns. Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. also says several businesses near Bridge Street said they did not have the staffing to support indoor and outdoor seating. 

Surveys have already shown more than 80% of respondents were in favor of keeping social zones on a more permanent basis.

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