Public invited to review draft of Southtown Area Specific Plan

Published on October 24, 2018

Two Southtown residents participating in a district planning session

Area Specific Plan project focuses on five business districts on Southeast Side


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A planning effort for five business districts on the city’s Southeast Side is coming to an end, and the community is invited to review a draft of the plan. Residents and business owners have two opportunities November 5 to review a draft of the Southtown Area Specific Plan (ASP). 

The first community workshop will be 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and the second workshop will be 6 to 8 p.m. Both open house-style events will take place at Boston Square Ice Cream and Café, 1553 Kalamazoo Ave. SE. The first session will include a brief presentation on the plan at 12:15 p.m. The second session’s presentation will take place at 6:30 p.m. Both workshops will include a Spanish interpreter and free meals. Children are welcome. People who live, work or own a business in the area bound by Wealthy Street, Jefferson Avenue, Fuller Avenue and 28th Street are encouraged to attend.

The project team – comprised of the Southtown Corridor Improvement District (CID) Board and Southtown ASP Steering Committee with help from consultants and City of Grand Rapids staff – will report on the ASP goals and the strategies created based on community input. This will be the third community engagement opportunity as part of the planning process.

Bill DeJong, who serves on the Southtown CID Board and is co-chair of the steering committee, said this round of engagement would be a great way for residents and business owners to learn about the plan recommendations. 

“We’ve been working hard on this plan over the last several months, and we couldn’t have gotten to this stage without public input,” he said. “We’re excited for people to have the opportunity to preview the draft plan and see the results of their input.”

The ASP’S business districts include Alger Heights, Boston Square, Franklin and Eastern, Madison Square and Seymour Square. The ASP is expected to be completed early next year.

The project leaders include local business owners, residents and other community stakeholders. The Southtown CID was created in 2016 as an expansion of the previous Madison Square CID to improve the health and success of multiple business areas. 

Third Ward Commissioner Senita Lenear, who also serves on the Southtown CID Board and steering committee, said the plan’s goal is to improve the area’s business districts and provide business owners with the tools they need to be successful.

“Business owners and residents want to have business corridors that are vibrant, walkable and safe and provide a variety of services and products for the diverse Southtown community,” she said. “We should be able to have a mini-downtown in multiple business districts in our neighborhoods.”

For those who are not able to attend a workshop, the meeting materials and a survey will be posted HERE after Nov. 5.

For more information about the Southtown ASP project, CLICK HERE or call 311 or 616.456.3000.