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A Master Plan for Downtown, Downtown Schools, & the River Corridor 

Facilitated by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc [DGRI], the City of Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids Public Schools [GRPS] and led by Interface Studio, GR Forward is the roadmap to guide change and investment in the coming years.  With a focus on Downtown, the Grand River and improving public schools through efforts to reimagine Innovation Central High and a new Museum School, GR Forward encompassed three planning efforts in one.  

Grand Rapids is poised to become a resilient, waterfront city and an urban playground for all ages centered around a progressive and lively Downtown. GR Forward is designed to guide this ongoing transformation. All members of the community – those who live, work, learn, and play in and near Downtown and the River – were welcomed participants, invited to help craft a collective vision for the future and identify key actions for change to make the vision become reality.

Over 4,400 people helped to create the plan.  

The process sought insights and ideas each step of the way through large public meetings, on-line participation tools, neighborhood forums neighborhood forums, focus groups and a Downtown Open House that reused a vacant storefront as an exhibit of Grand Rapids' past, present and potential future.

  • The collaborative map generated a lot of ideas - here are just a few of them

GR Forward is striving to create a dense, vibrant and inclusive Downtown that will help to attract and retain talent. 

GR Forward focused on strategies to promote new businesses and economic growth, encourage new housing development and create a balanced transportation network that accomodates the car while providing new bike facilities and transit improvements.  Coupled with market research, GR Forward also developed detailed plans to create unique spaces and experiences in Downtown.  This includes reconnecting to natural resources like the Grand River, promoting new development in critical locations to support more retail and amenities, creating new parks and encouraging temporary and ongoing programming to bring people together.  

  • We were here for 18 months
  • bikes!
  • Fulton Street today
  • Fulton Street in the future - a new gateway to Downtown
  • a proposed bike trail on an underused stretch of Ionia Street
  • More concerts
  • Don't forget about Winter
The Grand River is an undervalued resource - for recreation, bringing the community together and managing flood waters 
  • 201 market
  • amen to that
  • Design approach for the publicly-owned 201 Market Street site
  • GR Forward's recommendations were tailored to Downtown's many personalities
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  • Open House Launch
  • open house window treatment
  • collaborative mapping
  • that's a lot of meetings!
  • great idea!
  • GR Forward generated A LOT of interest