By: Deborah Johnson Wood
LISC, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, announced this week that Kimberly Van Dyk, executive director of Neighborhood Ventures, is the only finalist from Michigan nominated for a national State Farm-LISC Spirit of Revitalization Award.
Last year, LISC, a recognized powerhouse in the community redevelopment movement, invested $1.1 billion in the revitalization of local communities, which spurred some 3.2 million square feet of new commercial space and 20,400 affordable homes.
Van Dyk's nomination in the category of community leadership recognizes her work in Uptown, a collaboration of the East Hills, Wealthy Street, East Fulton, and Eastown business districts.
"There are three categories and three finalists in each category—community leadership, development, and placemaking," says Tom Pfister, Grand Rapids' LISC program director. "Neighborhood commercial district revitalization is not an easy task and it's quite an honor to be recognized by your peers across the nation."
The Uptown Forward group, spearheaded by Van Dyk, is comprised of business owners and community stakeholders who have worked closely with the city staff and officials to draft a policy for the establishment of corridor improvement districts (CIDs) in the city. The group is currently working on plans to establish CIDs in the Uptown districts.
"Kim has the rare ability to keep the big picture in mind while handling the details," says Baird Hawkins, board member of the Eastown Business Association. Hawkins works with Van Dyk on a number of committees, including Uptown Forward.
"She's very good at bringing together diverse groups of people and keeping them on task," he adds. "Neighborhood Ventures has a miniscule budget and Kim goes way beyond her pay to get done what she needs to do."
LISC will announce the winners at its Urban Forum in Indianapolis on April 29.
Source: Tom Pfister, Local Initiatives Support Corporation;
Photo by Brian Kelly
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Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.