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Old 03-16-2017, 06:03 PM
 
4,213 posts, read 3,933,251 times
Reputation: 7068

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indentured Servant View Post
I definitely think the area would benefit from a Division I college. I think in 10 or more years....Grand Valley should go DI. I think a D1 college will manifest before a professional sports franchise. GRR also needs to get more direct flights and more competition. I think an improved skyline would be akin to a man in a "good suit". It sells. Again, however, its the lake shore area that can set GR a cut above the other peer cities of around 1 million. Currently the Lake Shore area is nice.....but vision is needed to make it MORE a destination area for the Midwest region, in terms of water parks, hotels, beeches etc.
I very much agree with you about the Lakeshore, especially in regard to your earlier post about a contiguous urban area connecting GR and the lakeshore cities. The biggest impediment for that to happen is the current road infrastructure in Ottawa County. This is something I have been griping about since I figured it out a couple of years ago. At 280,000 people Ottawa County is currently the 8th most populous county in Michigan. It will be the 7th most by the 2020 census as it's about to pass Ingham in size. However Ottawa County still has the same road infrastructure it did when there were only 100,000 people in it during the 60's.


There is ONE North/South route that connects the entire length of the county. That would be US-31 along the Lake shore. If you are going North/South any further east in the county it needs to be done in a series of zig zags across the existing country roads. GR and the lakeshore will never be connected until the infrastructure is adjusted to accommodate it. Currently M-Dot has no plans to actually update any of this. The state has become notorious for no longer updating roads to accommodate new growth, let alone catch up to existing growth. So this isn't likely to happen anytime soon. The only current viable route to build up would be LMD past Allendale, and its currently being engulfed by new subdivisions(But of course there is nothing being done to mondernize the 2 lane highway that it is.)
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Old 03-19-2017, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 17,867,610 times
Reputation: 3875
Quote:
Originally Posted by Republic of Michigan View Post
My post was about 5 ways to improve the vision many wish to portray for the city...basically it is a dynamic decent size urban area which holds its own. The lakeshore and events are also ways to contribute to this marketing. It is all about psychology - just like the economy.
I meet a lot of people in real estate moving here and many of them are "escaping" a big city. They want a small city with big city amenities, less traffic and good schools that don't cost a fortune to get their kids into. I have yet to hear a transplant here say "this place needs more skyscrapers." And there are more people moving here than we have homes for, frankly. There's usually about 6000 homes on the market in West Michigan as a "healthy balance" of supply and demand. The GR area has about 1200 right now. I heard that a house on Benjamin NE got 43 offers on it the other day. That's nuts.

Grand Rapids trying to be something it's not will backfire.

Plus, the city doesn't build skyscrapers, developers do. The city can make building skyscrapers more lucrative but if there's no market for that much office space, hotel space or residential space, it's not going to happen. River House almost bankrupted Grooters and he says he'll never do another one again. Hinman's taking a shot at it, we'll see.

Honestly I don't think Grand Rapids or West Michigan needs to do anything to attract more attention right now. Maybe as I said to draw more visitors, conventions and sporting events. But it doesn't need to market itself as a place to move to, not for a few years anyway.

I've just seen posts like this for years that cities like Grand Rapids need to annex neighboring communities and build more skyscrapers and the only people who really care about that stuff are skycraper fanboi's on development discussion boards.

Last edited by magellan; 03-19-2017 at 08:17 AM..
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Old 03-19-2017, 12:09 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
3,112 posts, read 5,677,169 times
Reputation: 4436
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjlo View Post
I very much agree with you about the Lakeshore, especially in regard to your earlier post about a contiguous urban area connecting GR and the lakeshore cities. The biggest impediment for that to happen is the current road infrastructure in Ottawa County. This is something I have been griping about since I figured it out a couple of years ago. At 280,000 people Ottawa County is currently the 8th most populous county in Michigan. It will be the 7th most by the 2020 census as it's about to pass Ingham in size. However Ottawa County still has the same road infrastructure it did when there were only 100,000 people in it during the 60's.


There is ONE North/South route that connects the entire length of the county. That would be US-31 along the Lake shore. If you are going North/South any further east in the county it needs to be done in a series of zig zags across the existing country roads. GR and the lakeshore will never be connected until the infrastructure is adjusted to accommodate it. Currently M-Dot has no plans to actually update any of this. The state has become notorious for no longer updating roads to accommodate new growth, let alone catch up to existing growth. So this isn't likely to happen anytime soon. The only current viable route to build up would be LMD past Allendale, and its currently being engulfed by new subdivisions(But of course there is nothing being done to mondernize the 2 lane highway that it is.)
This is so true. I remember living in Allendale at GVSU and trying to get to Holland. I was thinking "why is this so difficult?" I would keep trying different back roads and I never felt like I was getting anywhere efficiently.

They did recently build that new road from I-96 in Nunica to Lake Michigan Dr west of Allendale. I suppose that's a start, but I doubt there are that many people that need to use that route. If they extend it all the way to I-196 it would be a big help.
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Old 11-19-2017, 07:05 AM
 
Location: Suburbs of Grand Rapids
76 posts, read 124,288 times
Reputation: 30
Not sure if I want GR being Highlighted in various magazines. I like our conservative town the way it WAS before this latest surge that is bringing in more people, which is changing the city. We had a nice quiet city. Now news reports a shooting every other day. We have gang problems. We have a big drug problem that still remains mostly unseen by many. And we have a low income housing shortage that is really making it difficult for seniors and disabled people.

Now we may not be a "pass thru" city, on the way to someplace else.. well, good, cause traffic on 131 going thru the center of town is the worst I have ever seen.

And if they think we are a "sleepy town" well, that makes our towns' little jewels that much better. Those small businesses that everyone knows about and go to.

So we are what we are, and if they don't think we are much, who cares? As long as we like it here, that is what really counts.
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Old 11-20-2017, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 17,867,610 times
Reputation: 3875
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bumbledor View Post
Not sure if I want GR being Highlighted in various magazines. I like our conservative town the way it WAS before this latest surge that is bringing in more people, which is changing the city. We had a nice quiet city. Now news reports a shooting every other day. We have gang problems. We have a big drug problem that still remains mostly unseen by many. And we have a low income housing shortage that is really making it difficult for seniors and disabled people.

Now we may not be a "pass thru" city, on the way to someplace else.. well, good, cause traffic on 131 going thru the center of town is the worst I have ever seen.

And if they think we are a "sleepy town" well, that makes our towns' little jewels that much better. Those small businesses that everyone knows about and go to.

So we are what we are, and if they don't think we are much, who cares? As long as we like it here, that is what really counts.
I think it's always traditionally been a lot of "conservatives" driving the drug trade in the area leading to the gun violence that you read about. Especially the expensive cocktail drugs. I don't think the gun violence is any worse now than it has been in the last 20 years. In fact, gang activity used to be really bad when we first moved here in the mid 90's, when Wealthy Street and Beemis were ground zero for a lot of that. Now I would say a lot of the shootings/stabbings are domestic violence related, which has nothing really to do with people moving here.
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Old 11-20-2017, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
8,513 posts, read 17,072,455 times
Reputation: 9475
If you don't want your mid-sized city to grow and change to reflect current trends in where people want to live, you end up with Saginaw or Jackson.

And i agree that a lot of the city was a lot worse in the 80s and 90s. I used to lifeguard for the city in the early 90s in the summer to help cover college expenses, and I can remember times when the Campau Park pool shut down because of nearby because of gunshots, the problems Highland Park had because it was relatively isolated from anything else (kind of downhill from homes and wedged against I-196) and how careful you had to be driving away from MLK or Garfield because of issues in the immediate area. (I actually felt pretty safe as long as I was at MLK park proper- the people who probably did get involved in dealing or other petty and not so petty crime were always careful about not messing with city employees because they didn't want to get banned from the park)
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Old 11-25-2017, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Michigan
92 posts, read 68,650 times
Reputation: 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
If you don't want your mid-sized city to grow and change to reflect current trends in where people want to live, you end up with Saginaw or Jackson.
I'm not sure that any city needs to "grow" in order to reflect current trends. If a stable population brings their children up to respect their surroundings, offers them an opportunity to attend a trade school, community college, or university, teaches them to treat others as they would like to be treated, leads by example by working hard, taking care of their property, and respecting their neighbors - then, I think things will work out just fine without a major influx of new residents. Saginaw, Flint, Pontiac, Detroit, Jackson, etc, suffer from city and county leadership that do not plan for the future, and thus, their children and future generations will suffer the consequences until they do plan effectively. A stable population is a stable population provided the citizens become educated and involved in government, i.e., vote the proper people into office.
And, Grand Rapids is somewhat overlooked nationally.
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Old 11-26-2017, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Michigan
92 posts, read 68,650 times
Reputation: 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnyJoe View Post
I'm not sure that any city needs to "grow" in order to reflect current trends. If a stable population brings their children up to respect their surroundings, offers them an opportunity to attend a trade school, community college, or university, teaches them to treat others as they would like to be treated, leads by example by working hard, taking care of their property, and respecting their neighbors - then, I think things will work out just fine without a major influx of new residents. Saginaw, Flint, Pontiac, Detroit, Jackson, etc, suffer from city and county leadership that do not plan for the future, and thus, their children and future generations will suffer the consequences until they do plan effectively. A stable population is a stable population provided the citizens become educated and involved in government, i.e., vote the proper people into office.
And, Grand Rapids is somewhat overlooked nationally.
Take Pittsburgh, PA for example. That city has actually seen it's population decline from 600,000 to 300,000 since 1960, and yet it is a thriving metropolis because of education and leadership.
Per Wiki:
[Pittsburgh has adapted since the collapse of its century-long steel and electronics industries. The region has shifted to high technology, robotics, health care, nuclear engineering, tourism, biomedical technology, finance, education, and services. Total annual payroll of the region's technology industries, when taken in aggregate, exceeded $10.8 billion in 2007,[92] and in 2010 there were 1,600 technology companies.[93] A National Bureau of Economic Research 2014 report named Pittsburgh the second-best U.S. city for intergenerational economic mobility[94] or the American Dream.[95] Reflecting the citywide shift from industry to technology, former factories have been renovated as modern office space. Google has research and technology offices in a refurbished 1918–1998 Nabisco factory, a complex known as Bakery Square.[96] Some of the factory's original equipment, such as a large dough mixer, were left standing in homage to the site's industrial roots.[97] Pittsburgh's transition from its industrial heritage has earned it praise as "the poster child for managing industrial transition".[98] Other major cities in the northeast and mid-west have increasingly borrowed from Pittsburgh's model in order to renew their industries and economic base.[99]]
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Old 11-26-2017, 10:03 AM
 
Location: between three Great Lakes.
2,000 posts, read 2,176,280 times
Reputation: 6985
GR is certainly overlooked by upscale retailers. We have no full-scale Nordstrom, and Macy's certainly doesn't count!
It's a good thing Etsy exists.
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Old 11-27-2017, 01:13 AM
 
Location: Seattle
337 posts, read 407,187 times
Reputation: 326
Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
If you don't want your mid-sized city to grow and change to reflect current trends in where people want to live, you end up with Saginaw or Jackson.
Interesting discussion. I'm born and raised in Grand Haven but have been living in Seattle for the past 18 years. I agree with the above statement, with two additions:

As you grow, DO NOT overlook transit. That, too, really needs to evolve. I happen to believe that it's never too early to start examining and thinking about light rail and rapid transit. Both future residents and existing companies will want to re-locate or open new offices in cities that are set-up well and offer easy commute options for employees. You don't want to get into a situation where all of a sudden you need to build a system which should have existed years ago. I can't mention this enough - people want to live where it's easy to get around and I don't just mean by personal automobile.

Example - right now in Seattle we are experiencing a massive tech boom. It started with Microsoft and quickly expanded further with the rise of Amazon. So many people moved into the metro area that it has caused massive traffic issues. I live 10 miles north of downtown and it takes me an hour via an express bus to get downtown to work every morning. It would be much worse if I drove myself. We have started to build a light rail system but that won't be completed until 2023. People are so fed-up that they talk about leaving to somewhere else. I realize that GR is smaller in population and size, but you still need to be thinking about this.

My understanding is that residents in Detroit area have voted-down a four-county mass-transit system last year. In my opinion that effectively killed any attempt to lure more major companies to move there or open an office. I've always thought that Amazon HQ2 would be great for Detroit but i'm pretty sure Amazon would never consider it now. Transit is really important.

I also think the increasing more direct flights into/out of Grand Rapids would be a huge boost. I rarely go home to visit because I view traveling back there to be such a hassle - I have to fly to Chicago, Detroit or Minneapolis and then connect from there. The last two times I was home (in 2007 and 2011), I flew to Chicago and drove. Hell, I can fly to Iceland easier than I can to Grand Rapids.

My opinion, of course

Last edited by Polymorphist; 11-27-2017 at 01:30 AM..
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