PBGR unveils community-suggested improvement ward projects

Published on September 27, 2022

PBGR Voting Week image

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Participatory Budgeting Grand Rapids (PBGR) Steering Committee has unveiled the final 27 projects that will be up for public vote September 30 through October 5. Beginning Friday, September 30, residents, 13 years and older, can vote for the final projects recommended specifically for each of Grand Rapids’ three wards at:

Voting results will determine which projects will be forwarded to the City Commission for funding approval. The proposed projects will be funded through the graduated dispersal of $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds across the City’s three wards. This graduated dispersal allows for investment based in part on the distribution of demographic and economic factors to help address historical disparities across the wards. The graduated ward distribution of funds includes: First Ward - $600,000, Second Ward -$400,000, and Third Ward - $1 million.

The final list of projects (by ward) and estimated cost of each includes:



Madison Square Library Upgrades – $250,000

Funding for improvements to the interior and exterior of the Madison Square Library branch.

Lead Line Removal for 3rd Ward – $500,000

Funding for removal of lead lines directly from homes in the 3rd Ward. Funding will expedite the “Lead Service Line Replacement Program” currently in place.

Community Based Violence Reduction Initiative – $250,000

Funding to pilot a community based public safety violence reduction initiative in the 3rd Ward.

City Policy & Equity Practice Review – $336,000

Funding to hire diverse individuals from Grand Rapids communities experiencing the worst of inequities to oversee/review the racial disparities in policies and advise changes that are needed.

Neighborhood/Community Building Grants – $200,000

Funding to provide grants for community building projects carried out by resident led-groups. Funding will increase the “Neighborhood Match Fund” currently in place.

Broadcast Media Academy – $120,000

Funding will support the creation and administration of a program to educate middle school students interested in digital media, radio, TV, and cinematography.

BIPOC Entrepreneurial Support Grants – $100,000

Funding will create a pilot program centered on supporting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) owned businesses and BIPOC commercial property owners within the 3rd Ward that have been distressed and marginalized.

Affordable Quality Childcare – $150,000

Funding will create a pilot program for safe, certified childcare providers to offer second and third shift programming for families residing in Ward 3.

Youth Affordable Housing Support – $145,000

Funding to create a pilot program centered on creating safe spaces for youth in crisis.

MLK Park Lodge Construction – $100,000

Additional funding to support existing construction plans at the lodge in MLK Park.



Youth Media Training Program – $200,000

Funds will support the creation and administration of a media and video production course targeted at middle and high school youth.

Mental Health Community First Responder – $350,000

Funding to administer a program for the public based on teaching first aid, mental health crisis response, coordination with first responders, and de-escalation that will decrease unnecessary police interactions.

Cure Violence (Ward 2) – $250,000

Funding to expand Cure Violence to two locations within Ward 2. Cure Violence is an evidence based model of violence prevention relying on trusted members from the community, known as violence interrupters, who work to build relationships – often acting as mediators – to stop violence before it occurs.

The Community Pantry – $150,000

Funding to cover the cost to build (i.e., hardware, labor), administer, and maintain an outdoor refrigerator, pantry, and microwave, accessible 24/7 to those experiencing hunger.

The Human Library – $100,000

Funding to create a pilot program centered on creating spaces for community conversations with the goal of supporting mental health awareness through community building.

Palmer Elementary Reading & Arts Initiative – $50,000

Funding to acquire culturally relevant books, art and performances at this multicultural school, designated a "cultural center" by GRPS.

Accessory Dwelling (ADU) Planning Guide – $50,000

Funding to develop a guide and a variety of pre-approved plans for those interested in building an accessory dwelling unit on their property.

Lower Elementary Reading Initiative – $75,000

Funding to create a pilot program matching reading tutors/mentors with K-2 students in the Second Ward.



Cleaning Up GR Proposal – $75,000

Funding part-time positions at the City of Grand Rapids to clean and beautify high-traffic corridors in Ward 1.

Affordable Quality Childcare – $150,000

Funding will create a pilot program for safe, certified childcare providers to offer second and third shift programming for families residing in Ward 1.

Citizens Advocacy Skills Academy – $100,000

Funding to create a pilot program centered on civic engagement education.

Plaster Creek Mural Project – $55,000

Funding to help clean up Plaster Creek & create a mural to beautify a city trail.

Community Reading Initiative for Violence Reduction – $50,000

Funding for a reading program aimed at preventing violence and promoting healthy communities amongst youth.

Supporting Victims of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking – $100,000

Funding to create a pilot program offering support services to victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

The STEAM Employment Opportunities Project – $200,000

Funding to create a pilot program to expose more adults and young adults to employment opportunities within STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) based profession

Youth Affordable Housing Support – $145,000

Funding to create a pilot program to house youth that is centered on creating safety, connection, and stability for youth in crisis.

South Division Greenscaping and Beautification Grants – $250,000

Funding to offer competitive grants for greenscaping and beautification of businesses and non-profits in the South Division corridor, specifically between Fulton and 28th Street in the First Ward.


The PBGR Steering Committee includes: (First Ward) Mallory Patterson, Michael Scholten; (Second Ward) Doug Booth, Lisa Knight, Cailin Kelly; (Third Ward) Kristian Grant, LaKiya Thompson-Jenkins and Pastor Kenneth Hoskins.

The City of Grand Rapids’ participatory budgeting initiative is a democratic process that allows residents the opportunity to help determine how public funds are spent. To learn more about the project, voting week, the steering committee, or sign up for the newsletter, please visit www.PBGR.org, instagram.com/PBGrandRapids,  facebook.com/PBGrandRapids and twitter.com/PBGrandRapids.


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