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Old 06-08-2020, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Michigan
68 posts, read 33,637 times
Reputation: 31

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What is the future of Grand Rapids, MI (Ten years from now) ?

The city has achieved quite a bit but can it continue its growth. Being between its to bigger brothers Detroit and Chicago will it make the same mistakes they made.
Such as putting too much into one aspect of its economy ( the medical field) as Detroit did with the auto industry.
Or over invest in its downtown leaving large portions of the city to failure from neglect as ( Chicago may have). What do you think ? Can it keep going in a positive direction ?
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Old 06-08-2020, 06:15 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
9,157 posts, read 17,793,231 times
Reputation: 10724
Local government and business leaders have long seen a diversified regional economy as the key to long term prosperity and not ending up like Flint. GR and Flint were pretty much tied as 'Michigan's Second City' fifty years ago but then took very different paths because GR was economically diverse enough to weather the big shocks in the auto industry that have caused the more homogenous Flint local economy to fall so hard.

I was looking at the bottle of the Trader Joe's cat treats the other day that my little Siamese girl loves as much as life itself. The company that makes them is headquartered in the Grand Rapids 'burbs. Metro GR still does a lot of different things even if medical and education get most of the buzz right now.
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Old 06-16-2020, 02:45 PM
 
57 posts, read 89,609 times
Reputation: 53
GR's diversified economy is definitely beneficial, but it's still very much a manufacturing town. The Medical Mile was a huge investment, but the region isn't as dependent on it as to where Flint was with the auto industry. Also, they strategically chose to invest in the medical industry because (1) it brings in people with advanced degrees (=higher income) from out of state, and (2) it tends to be more recession- and outsource-proof.

And I don't think there's been neglect outside of downtown at all. In fact, IMO the best thing about GR is all the great neighborhoods outside of downtown. It's even great to see new development happening in low-income areas like Madison Square and Roosevelt Park.

That being said, GR definitely has vulnerabilities. Hall & Madison has seen some redevelopment, but most of the southeast side hasn't, and our region's level of economic disparity is still nothing to be proud of. The city put out a strategic plan back in February that tried to identify & address GR's challenges: https://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rap...nd-rapids.html

Here are some the challenges they listed in the article:

Quote:
  • State incentives administered by the city mainly support real estate development, not job creation.
  • The city’s reliance on partner organizations often results in fragmented or decentralized economic development activities. That limits the city’s ability to promote equity.
  • Minority workers are underrepresented in sectors that provide higher-wage, entry-level positions with opportunities for advancement, while growing industries such as health care and manufacturing face talent pipeline challenges compounded by high turnover.
  • Limited weekday and weekend evening service hours and extended time between bus arrivals leave many areas and individuals under-served by transit. Racial and income disparities persist in ownership of personal vehicles.
  • Capital investment, programming and staff capacity are behind the rapid pace of development and the need for equitable service delivery.
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