GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s been a busy few months in the city of Grand Rapids and that will continue through the winter and into the spring.

Between big events like World of Winter, an upcoming budget and new leaders in city hall, there’s a lot to talk about.

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said City Commission had their first meeting Tuesday with new leaders in the chamber.

“The transition is going really smoothly. I think they’re all kind of finding their feet. We had a relatively light agenda on Tuesday for our commission meeting so I think it was a good one to start the year off with,” said Bliss.

The commission is finishing up participatory budgeting work from last year, as well as focusing on affordable housing and homelessness in the city.

“There’s a lot, as you can imagine,” Bliss said. “Big issue now … is what can we do to better respond to individuals experiencing homelessness? That will continue to be a priority. It’s a huge concern for all of us at city hall but also within our community.”

Part of what city commission is doing is allocating American Rescue Plan Act funds provided by federal government during COVID-19.

“We’ve already allocated about $20 million dollars in ARPA funds,” Bliss said.

Five million dollars will be going to the Affordable Housing Fund, $2 million to participatory budgeting, some to support crime prevention efforts and some to fill budget holes from COVID-19, she said.

Bliss spent the day in Lansing Thursday working with state leaders.

“There’s a great opportunity to partner more closely with our newly-elected officials in Lansing to identify what we can do together between local government and the state government to support city initiatives,” Bliss said.

But winter is not all commission and budget talk in Grand Rapids. World of Winter festival began last weekend and lasts for several weeks. Bliss said everyone should get out and enjoy it.

“We are a four-season city and we need to embrace that. I’m so glad world of winter has grown and expanded over the years,” said Bliss.