GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Grand Rapids is mapping out its future. Wednesday night, dozens came together to give their input on the city’s next Community Master Plan.
The master plan will be used to determine ways to help Grand Rapids improve and grow over the next two decades. It primarily focuses on land use, development and infrastructure.
A launch party for the plan was held at Harrison Park Academy Wednesday, where community members could share their ideas.
“How does Grand Rapids grow and develop, what does Grand Rapids look like, what does Grand Rapids need over the next 20 years?” said Kristen Turkelson, the Grand Rapids planning director. “We’re creating community that’s meant for everybody and that goes from our children, right up to our senior population.”
As the master plan is developed, Turkelson said she’s heard lots of discussions surrounding housing, transportation and safety.
“Looking at some our crime prevention strategies, front porches on homes, having proper street lighting, making sure our sidewalk systems are connected so that people can walk because there’s an element of see and be seen,” Turkelson said.
Kymie Spring, a community organizer with the Creston Neighborhood Association, said she would like to see Grand Rapids target environmental challenges.
“We want Grand Rapids to be the leader in climate change solutions and getting those implemented and helping the most vulnerable populations that will be most affected by flooding and things like that,” Spring said.
Spring said she would also like to see Grand Rapids address racism and take action such as helping minority business owners.
“Help them get loans. It shouldn’t be harder for someone of color to get a loan from a bank than someone who looks like me,” Spring said.
The most recent master plan was created in 2002 and Turkelson said it has shown it can make a big difference.
“A lot of the great things that are happening today like the river restoration project, … the Medical Mile,” Turkelson said. “All of that work can be tied back to the planning work. You need a good plan if you want to see good things happen in your community.”
The goal is to have the master plan finished by June of next year. Turkelson said the plan must be reviewed every five years and updates can be made.