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Happy holidays and see you in 2016!

As 2015 comes to an end, Rapid Growth takes a look at the past year in Grand Rapids and where 2016 may take us.
As 2015 comes to an end, all of us at Rapid Growth hope you are enjoying a peaceful holiday season with your loved ones and have a blast ushering in 2016.

This past year in Grand Rapids was wrapped in challenge, excitement and innovation, with the public schools being poised to thrive, residents fighting for more equitable neighborhoods, individuals tackling systemic racism and infant mortality, students leading the way in composting, the creative community carving out space for itself on South Division, more women getting into the craft beer scene, and, heck, even distilleries getting big kudos from our city of hops lovers. There were plenty of battles as well, including concerns over development on the West Side — something area leaders are hoping to address by shaping a more inclusive landscape that benefits both longtime residents on the brink of being priced out and businesses.

Over the past year, we were also reminded of how many incredibly talented and passionate people are constantly pushing our city to become a better and more interesting place, including a man who helps those who are homeless find jobs, the founder of Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses, women who founded an organic collective of Latina support, and urban chicken farmers. We also spoke to the woman who's making sure business women of color have all the support they need to live out their dreams, leaders in the local hip hop scene, the movers and shakers in the city's worlds of poetry and spoken word, and a resident who does everything from fight for racial equality to highlight the need for answers to gentrification in Grand Rapids. 

There was big change here at Rapid Growth as well, with the publication welcoming our new publisher, Tommy Allen, and bidding farewell to his predecessor, longtime publisher Jeff Hill. Stephanie Doublestein also left her position as managing editor to launch her own company, and Anna Gustafson came on as the new managing editor.

This coming year is a big one, for both Grand Rapids and Rapid Growth — which is celebrating 10 years in West Michigan in 2016. As for the city, Grand Rapidians are bidding adieu to outgoing Mayor George Heartwell and opening their arms to the city's new mayor, Mayor-elect Rosalynn Bliss, the first woman to be elected as mayor in Grand Rapids. These next days will be crucial ones filled with debate, and hopefully action, over the need for affordable housing and commercial rents for locally-owned shops, sustainable development, equitable public transportation, and more.

To celebrate the holidays and prepare for covering the new year, we at Rapid Growth will be taking a break until Thursday, January 7. 

To all of our wonderful readers, we hope you have the happiest holidays and a fabulous new year. We'll see you in 2016!
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