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Madison Square business district another step closer to becoming Grand Rapids' second CID

By: Deborah Johnson Wood

Encouraged by Uptown's recent victory as Grand Rapids' first Corridor Improvement District (CID), supporters of Madison Square's bid for CID designation say the district could be next in line. Grand Rapids City Commissioners recently passed a resolution accepting the proposal for the CID and on May 12 will hold a public hearing.

In the past five years, Madison Square has received a $100,000 Cool Cities grant, seen new buildings constructed and existing buildings renovated, watched promised redevelopments fizzle and has struggled to attract and keep new neighborhood businesses.

Now the business district at the intersection of Madison and Hall is on the cusp of establishing the means to infuse the business district with the largest influx of funding in its history.

"The community is looking for a vibrant commercial district to support revitalizing the neighborhood and the CID is one way to get there," says Kimberly Van Dyk, executive director of Neighborhood Ventures. "It's the chicken and the egg thing. We need to grow the demand, and we'll grow it if we can get the CID and transit improvements."

Neighborhood Ventures, LISC, Lighthouse Communities and other organizations are catalysts in the development of the CID proposal and in drumming up support from business owners, property owners and the surrounding Southtown community.

Months of planning, a door-to-door survey, a walking tour of the area and community input resulted in a wish list of improvements that includes attracting a bank, a pharmacy and a sit-down restaurant; streetscape upgrades to beautify the area; and buses that run every 15 minutes instead of the current 30-minute schedule.

"One thing that's really amazing," Van Dyk says, "is that the community sent over 200 letters of support (for the CID) to the city commission, plus email and phone calls."

Source: Kimberly Van Dyk, Neighborhood Ventures

Related Articles
Madison Square takes next step toward Corridor Improvement District
Madison Square is awarded $100,000 and ‘Cool Cities’ designation

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com.

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