The City is currently embarking on updating the Master Plan, which serves as a roadmap for future land-use and planning decisions. The process began with a kick-off, which you can read about below.
The public and business owners are invited to provide input into the process at upcoming planning commission meetings. The full schedule of remaining sessions can be found below.
On Tuesday, Sept. 12, the City of East Grand Rapids hosted three master planning sessions at City Hall.
Residents, business owners and employees were invited to the sessions to ask questions, make suggestions and voice concerns. These were led by MKSK, an award-winning landscape architecture, urban design and planning firm, that has partnered with East Grand Rapids since spring to help formulate a master plan. Tasked with looking at demographic changes, market trends and technological innovations, MKSK brings new insights and fresh perspective to the future possibilities of East Grand Rapids.
“This process gives us an opportunity to look at up-coming trends and how they might benefit our City,” Mayor Amna Seibold said. “We don’t want to realize too late that we didn’t ‘keep up’ with the needs and desires of our residents. We want want to ensure East continues to be a desirable community to live in.”
The first session focused on Gaslight Village and the businesses located near the City center. MKSK presenters spoke to the greater national and statewide trends occurring in retail and service industries that will affect the downtown’s bustling center and offered several suggestions as how to meet the coming change and position Gaslight Village for growth.
The second session centered around increasing the diversity in housing options around Gaslight Village. After building on the feedback of the first two sessions, in session three, MKSK presented a series of project proposals to the East Grand Rapids City
“The last time we updated the master plan, I’ll admit, I was a skeptic,” Seibold said. “I doubted that private developers would step in with major projects when we changed the zoning, but I was wrong. Now we have a host of diverse housing surrounding Gaslight Village, which has brought new residents to our community.”
More than 100 individuals attended the three sessions and had the opportunity to ask the MKSK presenters questions. Some of the points residents asked planners to keep in mind were the importance of green space and ensuring adequate parking with community growth. Residents overwhelmingly agreed that they wanted to maintain the walkability and community feel within East Grand Rapids. Several participants stressed the importance of preserving the history of the area as well as the longtime business relationships while planning for growth. Addittionally, there were many questions and suggestions regarding open development spaces in the village, both publicly and privatey owned.
Seibold thanked everyone who attended the workshops and shared their ideas and suggestions.
After considering the innovative proposals of MKSK and the forum feedback of the session, the City will look to adopt any recommended changes in Spring of 2018.
"We want to understand community trends so we can make informed decisions as to what changes may benefit our city,” Seibold said. “Our work as a city, as commissioners, is to remove the barriers so these changes and improvements can happen.
"Some suggested changes may be implemented more quickly than others – and some may not be deemed a fit for our community at this time. The continued conversations and work around this project will make for interesting and exciting upcoming years!”
The Planning Commission will continue to discuss the master plan at upcoming meetings and residents are encouraged to attend and provide feedback.