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Catch up with Neighborhoods of GR

Over the past 11 months, Rapid Growth has featured the places and spaces of GR in our Neighborhoods of GR series. Catch up with the amazing people, nonprofits, and businesses that have graced our pages.

Over the past 11 months, Rapid Growth has featured the places and spaces of GR in our Neighborhoods of GR series. Catch up with the amazing people, nonprofits, and businesses that have graced our pages.

East Hills celebrates activism while tackling gentrification

When asked what she loves about East Hills, Delight Lester doesn’t hesitate: “The people.” In the charming, walkable, tree-lined streets of East Hills, one might think the hip restaurants or chic boutiques are the neighborhood's draw—but there is much more humming beneath the surface.

From Fulton St. to Wealthy St., and Union St. to Fuller Ave., East Hills consists of seven smaller neighborhoods, three business districts, and three historic districts. Like many neighborhoods in Grand Rapids, East Hills faced disinvestment in the 1970s and ‘80s. As businesses and white, middle-class residents relocated to the suburbs, a committed group of East Hills residents sank their roots deeper.
 

Alger Heights, a community of little intentional actions

"Tight knit." Alger Heights resident and business owner Alex Courts uses these words to describe Alger Heights, and when asked to explain exactly what he means, he takes a minute to gather his thoughts.

"It's more something you feel rather than express with words," Courts says. "From the minute you move into this neighborhood, you are welcomed. One of my neighbors moved in a couple months ago, but it already feels like they have been here for a long time. This is a community, in the real sense of the word."
 

Heritage Hill houses the caretakers of history

A walk-through Heritage Hill is a walk through the ages. Spanning from Crescent to Pleasant and Union to Lafayette, this neighborhood serves as one of the most tangible connections to our past. It is an architectural time machine that takes residents and visitors alike to an age before cookie-cutter suburban sprawl. A visit here is a trip back to a time to when homes were custom-built for the elite by the most renowned architects of the time.
 

WestSide evolution continues

While some are concerned with pushing out long-time residents, and with the dreaded “g-word” (gentrification), others are excited with the renaissance of the area and all of the positive development. The WestSide is diverse (as illustrated by the wonderful mural at Leonard and Turner, by George Eberhardt), with lots of history. It has a wonderful flavor that is tough to define unless one lives, works, or plays here often. It needs to be experienced to be understood.


 
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