City “thankful” for legislative achievements in 2023

Published on November 21, 2023

Rendering of new MLK Park Lodge

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – As the Michigan legislature raps up a historically productive legislative session, City of Grand Rapids officials are reflecting on the remarkable investments and policy achievements that will benefit the City of Grand Rapids and all those who live, work and play in the City.

Michigan’s bipartisan Fiscal Year plan, the “Make it in Michigan” budget included $35 million for construction/development of two Grand Rapids fire stations and $6 million for construction of a new MLK Park Lodge. These requests were spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks and Representative Kristian Grant.

In addition to specific funding for the capital projects, State budget funding totaling over $50 million went to non-profits and community partners for projects in Grand Rapids. That funding fueled projects to improve infrastructure, affordable and middle housing, lead pipe replacement, closing health equity gaps and expanding skills training, and other programs that directly benefit Grand Rapidians.

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss stated that she was, “thankful for the significant investment the State has made in the Grand Rapids community. Governor Gretchen Whitmer and our entire Grand Rapids delegation including Michigan Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks and State Representatives John Fitzgerald, Carol Glanville, Kristian Grant, Rachel Hood and Phil Skaggs delivered meaningful investments that will impact residents and visitors for generations.”

City Manager Mark Washington said he is appreciative of the State’s $41 million it dedicated to build the City’s two new fire stations and MLK Park Lodge.

"I am grateful to legislators for this significant investment in public safety and efforts to improve fire services in our growing City,” he said. “Likewise, I am excited about improving the MLK Park Lodge – a treasured community asset and significant investment in the Third Ward. The State funding is helping us leverage existing funding from the Parks millage and Third Ward Equity Fund to make this project a reality.”

In addition to the funding measures, City officials are also appreciative of numerous new laws passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor centering around public safety and gun violence prevention. Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom said that the safe storage and extreme risk protection orders should curb the number of gun deaths throughout the state.

The legislature also prioritized legislation that protects the rights of all LGBTQIA+ persons, safe and equitable access to voting and providing new tools and investments in increasing housing and ensuring all residents have safe, stable and permanent housing. We applaud their work to pass over 150 bipartisan bills this year and the Governor’s willingness to assist in making long overdue reforms and investments that will benefit everyone in Grand Rapids and the State of Michigan.

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