GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A public-private partnership will bring safety and mobility improvements to an intersection in Grand Rapids.
Cannabis retailer Pharmhouse Wellness said it teamed up with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Mobile GR and The Rapid to improve the intersection of Wealthy Street SW and Front Avenue SW.
“Basically, we want to beautify this area,” Casey Kornoelje, owner of Pharmhouse Wellness, said. “We want West Wealthy and the lower westside to be a nicer area than it was prior to our arrival.”
The improvements include a barrier-free bus stop, a newly established bike lane, public art and other beautification efforts. The project was funded with proceeds received by Pharmhouse as well as discounts the business received from the state and city.
These changes come after several incidents and complaints regarding the safety of those who frequent the bus stops and the area of the intersection in general. The hope is that these will help prevent future disasters.
“We’re hearing a lot of positive feedback,” Lynee Wells, the CEO of Align Planning which helped design the stops, said. “We’d like to see this replicated across Grand Rapids. We’d like to see that there are fewer instances of crashes of pedestrian-vehicle injuries.”
Exodus Place, a transitional housing facility, which houses more than 130 people, is located at the intersection. President and CEO Robb Munger said the improvements have already made the area feel more united.
“This whole process has changed the whole tempo and personality of our building actually,” Munger said. “People’s anxieties are much less when they come out here. They don’t think, ‘We’re going to get run over.’ It also makes people feel like they actually care.”
“What I said to folks at the beginning, this was about four years ago now, was that I wanted to be a good neighbor and I wanted this area to be a better place after our arrival than it was before,” Kornoelje said. “So, to see some of these things start to come into play and having real-life impacts on people’s lives, it feels good.”
This site is a testing ground for the city to see if more revitalized stops will be coming in the future. In the meantime, Kornoelje said he is hoping to continue upgrading the western side of Wealthy Street.