GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Community members have the chance to name the new community hub coming to the Boston Square neighborhood in Grand Rapids.
Construction is well underway as crews work to renovate the 45,000-square-foot space, Amplify GR chief operating officer Patrick Johnson said. The community hub, located between Kalamazoo Avenue and Fuller Avenue near Ramona Street, is projected to mostly open in the fall of 2024 and be fully open in early 2025.
“I think there’s lots of excitement,” Johnson said. “We spent a lot of time talking to neighbors about this project and every element of this project is reflective of neighbor voice, priorities and desires for the community. So I think they’re excited to see some shovels hit the ground and some cranes moving some things around.”
He said there’s been some questions about what’s coming next, which is to “name that hub.”
He said the ‘community hub’ is “what we’ve been calling it kind of affectionately today, but (we’re) really working to develop a name that is going to be representative of the community and actually uphold just the amazing tradition and legacy that’s found right here in 49507.”
Neighbors, stakeholders and any creative or “linguistically inclined” community members can submit a name at bostonsquaregr.org. You can also submit a name by stopping by the Amplify GR office just down the street from the site at 1480 Kalamazoo Ave.
They’ve received around 60 submissions so far. Johnson said they want to have as many as possible. The Neighborhood Advisory Committee in charge of picking the name wants the job to be difficult, he said.
The deadline for submission is Friday. The winner will receive dinner for four at a Boston Square business and “immense pride,” according to the project’s website.
The name will be unveiled at the organization’s tree lighting event on Dec. 2.
Johnson said they didn’t want the rules around the name to be “too controlled,” so that neighbors can come up with authentic names. Some themes people can think about are the tradition and legacy of the 49507 zip code, family, togetherness and gathering.
“We envision that the hub is going to be not only a place where community members can come and receive critical services that they’ve told us were vital to the long-term sustainability of the neighborhood, we also want this place to be viewed as a front porch in the living room, just a place where you can hang out with your fellow neighbors,” Johnson said. “We really are looking for and hoping for names that kind of encompass any part of that spectrum, but just something that once you hear it, you feel it and you know that it means ‘Boston Square.'”
Amplify GR hopes the community hub will become a beacon for generations.
The hub will offer health and wellness services in partnership with Corewell Health and child care education services. It will also have a coffee shop or café space for people to hang out and a rentable multipurpose space.
Project leaders expected the community hub will have around 50 staff positions.
“This is the most significant project that we have done to date,” Johnson said. “Given the size and the complexity, it just really is a lot if you look at what we are ultimately trying to build out for Boston Square. The neighborhood has been really vocal about just needing a physical location, like something that that galvanizes support and really increases the community-oriented spirit and feel that’s found here in Boston Square.
“We believe that this project is well-positioned to do that just based on the multiple ways that it is increasing access and providing opportunities for neighbors to just be in community with their fellow neighbor.”