Hope for ‘comeback’ in south Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There’s a push underway to bring new life to Grand Rapids’ South Division Corridor.

The area, which stretches from Wealthy Street to 28th Street and Madison Avenue past Division, has gained notoriety over the years for abandoned businesses and crime.

An upcoming fashion show is one of the many ways city officials and community stakeholders are trying to change things.

Timothy Bracey is a community ambassador for the South Division Corridor Plan. The successful businessman grew up in the area and remembers what it used to be like.

“This has been a bustling thriving corridor over the years,” Bracey told 24 Hour News 8 Sunday.

“It’s disappointing,” he said of the area’s current state, “and when I have friends that come into town, I’ve been ashamed to bring them along this corridor.”

He teamed up with city officials and outside consultants to help improve the quality of life on the south side of the city.

“It’s like the gateway to Grand Rapids,” Bracey said.

He and the South Division Corridor team want to attract new businesses and opportunities. Bracey believes the area can make a comeback.

To that end, a ‘comeback” fashion show is planned for March 30. Koko B. Wear House of Design on Madison Avenue is one of the businesses involved with putting it on.

“We can include existing businesses, attract new businesses and bring attention to the corridor with the fashion show,” Bracey said.

Residents will also have the opportunity to share what changes they would like to see. Some have already weighed in, telling the team they want a neighborhood pharmacy and public art.

Bracey believes it’s time for the South Division area to see rejuvenation like other parts of the city.

“They (residents) wanted to keep pace with what’s going on on Michigan Avenue, Medical Mile, Bridge Street and Wealthy Street,” he told 24 Hour News 8. “It’s high time that the southeast side and the southwest side start getting some of that kind of attention and monies and growth as well.”

The fashion show will be held at the Salvation Army Kroc Center on South Division. Tickets are $5 for general admission, $10 for VIP seating and $15 for family.

If you can’t make it, you can still submit community revitalization ideas at the website for the South Division Corridor Plan.

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