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U to the Zoo Wins Best Non-Profit Project 2012

posted Nov 13, 2012, 1:27 PM by Kayla Reidel

Mayor's Remarks:

One of the things that I am always proud to say is that as a community we here in Grand Rapids are recognized and known for our generosity in giving back. We understand the fact that not everything we do in our neighborhood business districts has a “bottom line profit” attached to it. But the
volunteer time we put in today increases the quality of life within our city for years to come.

It is in this spirit that we now recognize the:
Best Non-Profit Project of 2012 Certificates of recognition are awarded this year to:
. Avenue for the Arts, Murals 2012 – Heartside
. Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center – Wealthy Street
. The Rapidian – Wealthy Street & city wide
. The “U to the Zoo” area specific plan – West Fulton

And the 2012 award goes to:
The “U to the Zoo” area specific plan for the West Fulton business corridor.

How do you come up with an idea to redevelop an entire neighborhood that has been around since the time that the City of Grand Rapids was plotted out? Good urban design follows a well thought out and written plan. Such is the case with the “U to the Zoo” area specific plan along the West Fulton corridor.

From the historic community treasure that is John Ball Park on the west end to a bustling Grand Valley State University campus that presents a world class learning environment along the river; this west side neighborhood, on the cusp of buoyant transition, might have just sit back and waited for
change. Instead; a community effort that included neighbors and businesses, came together to have the hard conversation about potential challenges of unbridled development and how that might test this proud and traditional neighborhood.

Understanding that vision and priorities may be different from person to person, the common goal in the district that everyone can agree on is we all wholeheartedly want to see it succeed. An area specific plan puts everyone on the same page and creates a blueprint for neighborhood revitalization. For laying the groundwork with an area specific plan along this growing corridor, the “U to the Zoo” is selected as our Best Non-Profit Project of the year.