City of Grand Rapids provides progress report on strategic priorities

Published on October 22, 2019

Performance Management Update banner for FY 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The City Commission this morning heard a Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 performance management progress update that highlighted successes in the strategic plan’s six priority areas – government excellence, economic prosperity and affordability, engaged and connected community, health and environment, mobility and safe community. The presentation also highlighted the work City departments have done and plan to do around the strategic plan, including metrics, reporting and the budget process.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the City’s accomplishments in the six strategic priority areas:


Government excellence

  • Passed a human rights ordinance that includes unique provisions to reduce biased crime reporting and updates to better protect the rights of all residents
  • Continued the implementation of projects related to the Third Ward Equity Fund, including façade improvement programs, keeping people in their homes and educating residents about the hidden dangers that put children at risk of lead exposure 
  • Hired 62 employees, including six leadership positions 
  • Recognized as the nation’s top data-driven city and honored for digital services


Economic prosperity and affordability

  • Approved a brownfield development agreement for the $83 million Grand Rapids Innovation Park, partnered with The Right Place and Michigan Economic Development Corp. to attract global insurance company Acrisure to downtown and worked with Spectrum Health on its decision to build a Center for Transformation and Innovation downtown
  • Secured a $300,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for the Equitable Grand River Restoration Initiative
  • Developed and implemented a process regarding separation distance from public parks for proposed medical marijuana facilities
  • Approved a contract with Housing Next to focus on housing matters and coordinated application of resources that drive results


Engaged and connected community

  • Launched a public safety notification system to keep residents informed of emergency situations and help build trust between the community and police
  • Created a community-led Task Force on Elected Representation to evaluate proposals on issues related to elections and City Commission representation
  • Hired a census coordinator and ambassadors to help make sure everyone is counted in the 2020 census 
  • Changed the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to increase opportunities for residents and other community stakeholders to participate and contribute their voices


Health and environment

  • Completed substantial renovations to four parks with various upgrades for recreation and education – Joe Taylor, Lookout, Reservoir and Belknap parks – and celebrated the nearly completed outdoor classroom and playscape at Plaster Creek Family Park
  • Launched a community collaboration on climate change that’s focused on equitable climate change planning
  • Continued construction of the biodigester to reduce the amount of waste going into the City’s wastewater system
  • Launched a partnership with Grand Valley State University, Seamless and Start Garden to use air quality data to produce an innovative solution that can be used by residents to determine pollution levels that can impact health, particularly for individuals who have asthma or breathing issues



  • Established a comprehensive Bicycle Action Plan that moves Grand Rapids forward as a community where bicycling for transportation and recreation is a safe, comfortable and integral part of daily life
  • Launched an autonomous vehicle pilot initiative with public and private partners 
  • Opened 300 City-managed parking spaces at Studio Park downtown
  • Authorized $9.5 million in Vital Streets funds for 12 projects that leveraged an additional $14.1 million in funding


Safe community


Read the progress update HERE. Check out the Committee of the Whole presentation HERE

“We are a values-, vision- and mission-driven organization and we are using the strategic plan intentionally to guide our decisions,” City Manager Mark Washington said. “It’s important we build a sustainable infrastructure for performance management that’s transparent to the community and flexible enough to adapt to changes over time.” 

Alison Sutter, the City’s sustainability and performance management officer, said staff were spending the first half of FY2020, which began July 1, aligning their department business plans to the strategic plan, identifying initial data sources for metrics, establishing an online dashboard for key metrics, building a reporting framework and refining the process for ensuring the budget aligns with the strategic plan. 

Sutter said the second half of FY2020 would be spent refining business plan alignment, modifying metrics, refining the reporting framework and process and establishing FY2021 priorities so the City Commission could adopt a budget aligned with strategic plan. Following that, she said, staff would provide real-time performance monitoring and reporting on an online dashboard, continue to refine and align the strategic plan-budget process and improve efficiencies through data and systems integration.

“The community will be able to track how we’re doing in the six priority areas,” Sutter said. “This will advance our commitment to transparency and accountability.”

The plan also calls for a mid-November workshop so the City Commission can start planning for FY2021. The workshop will include a budget forecast, discussions on FY2021 priorities and key metrics recommended for an online dashboard and prospective FY2020 midyear budget adjustments.

The workshop is set for 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18 in the ninth-floor Commission Chambers at City Hall, 300 Monroe Ave. NW. Validated parking is available in the Government Center Ramp off Monroe and Ottawa avenues. The workshop will be livestreamed on the City’s Facebook and YouTube.

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