SmartZone Local Development Finance Authority

Department in Charge of This Board

Economic Development

About the Board

We provide support to high-technology entrepreneurs and businesses. We do this by working to enhance the environment and resources they need for success. This helps them leverage technology, start companies, and create new industries. It also keeps our economy strong and prosperous.

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A SmartZone Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA) is an economic development tool. It allows us to capture increased property tax dollars. We then reinvest that money to provide support to high-technology entrepreneurs and businesses.

The following partners established the Grand Rapids SmartZone LDFA in 2002:

  • City of Grand Rapids
  • Grand Rapids Community College
  • Grand Valley State University
  • The Right Place, Inc.
  • Van Andel Research Institute

We have 11 members:

  • 7 members are appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the City Commission
  • 1 member is appointed by the Kent County Commission
  • 1 member is appointed by the President of Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC)
  • 2 members are appointed by the Superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS)

Our guiding document is a Tax Increment Financing Plan and Development Plan(PDF, 5MB). We amended our Plans in 2016 and established the following strategic priorities:

  1. Inspiration, mentoring and access to resources
  2. Infrastructure and physical resources
  3. Connection and awareness
  4. Talent

We have two distinct boundaries. Our Authority District encompasses the entire City of Grand Rapids. Our Certified Technology Park(PDF, 1MB) (CTP) is a smaller area within the City. We only capture tax increment revenue in the CTP. View our interactive map.

Michigan Public Act 281 of 1986 is our enabling legislation.

Residency Requirement

There is no residency requirement to be a member of this board.

Term Limits

Each term lasts 4 years. There is no term limit, so you can serve an unlimited number of terms.

Compensation

There is no compensation for serving on this board.

Board Rules

Rules of Procedure(PDF, 29KB)

Dante Villarreal

Mayoral Appointment
Non-Resident
Term ends: 1/31/2020

Keith Brophy

Mayoral Appointment
Non-Resident
Term ends: 12/31/2021

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss

Mayoral Appointment
Ward 2 Resident
Term ends: 12/31/2021

Jerry Kooiman

Mayoral Appointment
Ward 3 Resident
Term ends: 12/31/2021

Therese Thill

Mayoral Appointment
Ward 3 Resident
Term ends: 12/31/2021

VACANCY

Representative of the Kent County Board of Commissioners
Term ends: 12/31/2020

Gerald Callahan

Mayoral Appointment
Non-Resident
Term ends: 12/31/2019

Mark Holzbach

Mayoral Appointment
Ward 1 Resident
Term ends: 12/31/2019

Wendy Falb

Representative of Grand Rapids Public Schools
Ward 2 Resident
Term ends 12/31/2021

John Helmholdt

Representative of Grand Rapids Public Schools
Non-Resident
Term ends 12/31/2021

Lisa Freiburger

Representative of Grand Rapids Community College
Term ends 12/31/2019