About Plaza Roosevelt
The project began in 2013 when Habitat for Humanity of Kent County (Habitat Kent) began acquiring what would eventually add up to more than 5 acres of land along Grandville Avenue with the vision that it would be a catalyst for neighborhood-driven revitalization. Between 2013 and 2015, Habitat Kent initiated a series of neighborhood design charrettes, resident focus groups, and door-to-door surveys within the neighborhood in order to incorporate neighborhood input into the vision for the development. Neighborhood residents and stakeholders shared their desire for greater access to a variety of housing and businesses and a need for more programming for youth living in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood. As a result of the energy and excitement generated by the neighborhood engagement process, other local organizations expressed interest in becoming part of a collaborative development of the site to provide the much-needed and wanted programming. Roosevelt Park is a neighborhood full of resources – from the skill and expertise of individual residents – to the institutions that have focused on areas like education and housing. The Plaza Roosevelt development seeks to build upon the existing strengths within the neighborhood by elevating resident ideas and leadership, create space for the community to gather, and increase opportunities for resident ownership.
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Habitat Kent Executive Director BriAnne McKee introduces the Plaza Roosevelt project alongside community partners.
At a news conference Monday, November 21, eight partners announced an agreement to begin site planning work on the proposed Plaza Roosevelt development - a unique mix of education, healthcare, affordable housing and more.
Plaza Roosevelt is proposed for the two city blocks on the east side of Grandville Avenue between Graham on the north and Franklin on the south. Rumsey Street separates the two blocks.
The partners include Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Dwelling Place, Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities, Ferris State University, Hispanic Center of Western Michigan and Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association.
The site planning process is based on values of equitable development (development that benefits people in the neighborhood and reflects the residents’ feelings about a healthy neighborhood) and community engagement (engaging residents in as many aspects of project planning and implementation as possible and connecting residents’ interests with actions they can take to advance their goals).
Roosevelt Park neighborhood residents and stakeholders will be invited and encouraged to continue to be involved in the site planning and design processes. Additionally, a group of 10-12 residents will serve on a Resident Partner Committee to participate in planning for Plaza Roosevelt and ensure that the resident voice is integrated into all levels of the project, including key decision making.
The partners have expressed an interest in bringing the following to the 5.5 acre site:
- Affordable homeownership and rental housing opportunities.
- Increased health services through Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Clinica Santa Maria.
- Expanded educational opportunities with up to four new Great Start Readiness Program preschool classes and the construction of a new high school facility to accommodate the expansion of Southwest Community Campus (SWCC), a Spanish/English dual immersion theme school, from a PK-8 to PK-12. Grand Rapids Public Schools has dedicated $20 million of the 2015 voter-approved bond for these projects.
- Shared community spaces and out of school time programming for teens.
The partners made the following statements:
“We are a diverse community and we love our neighborhood. This project reflects our hopes and dreams in Roosevelt Park – to be a place where we can raise strong and healthy families. We want growth in this neighborhood to reflect our neighborhood – and we have been learning together how to do that with integrity. Our future is bright in Roosevelt Park and Plaza Roosevelt is an important part of that future.”
-Rev. Reggie Smith, President, Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association Board
“The residents of Roosevelt Park neighborhood have the wisdom, experience, and determination to create a neighborhood where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Habitat Kent has built and sold 63 houses in Roosevelt Park to date, and spent years building relationships with its residents. We are thrilled for the opportunity to convene these organizations, with the neighbors, around the table to make sure Plaza Roosevelt is not just about engaging residents at the beginning, but including neighbors in as many aspects of project planning as possible.”
-BriAnne McKee, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County
“This amazing development opportunity truly demonstrates the power of people and partnership and how we in Grand Rapids come together to support our students, families, and neighbors. We are grateful to the Roosevelt Park residents for speaking out and asking for more educational opportunities to serve students and families in the neighborhood. Thanks to the voters and taxpayers of Grand Rapids, we will be investing $20 million of the bond dollars for new preschool classes, expanded after school programming, and the new Southwest Community Campus High School.”
-Teresa Weatherall Neal, Superintendent, Grand Rapids Public Schools
“The Hispanic Center has a long history of community engagement in our neighborhood. We are encouraged to be involved as partners in a project that brings economic promise to our residents.”
-Roberto Torres, Executive Director, Hispanic Center of Western Michigan
"Dwelling Place is honored to participate as a partner in this most extraordinary neighborhood collaborative. Connecting educational, health care, and housing initiatives on behalf of residents who are fully engaged will truly transform the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood."
-Dennis Sturtevant, CEO, Dwelling Place
“Saint Mary's Clinica Santa Maria has served the healthcare needs of the neighborhood for more than 25 years. Currently, we host more than 2,000 patient visits each year; some of our families are third generation Clinica patients. We look forward to working with all the partners in Plaza Roosevelt to continue to provide needed services in the community.”
-Patricia VanBaren, MD, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Clinica Santa Maria
“Ferris State University will learn from and serve the Roosevelt Park community by bringing resident-requested resources and educational opportunities to the Plaza Roosevelt site. Existing Ferris assets in Grand Rapids include such well-regarded programs as the FSU College of Pharmacy, innovative and effective college and career preparation partnerships, and a willingness to listen and collaborate. Ferris State University is a living, adaptive organization that is comfortable operating in innovative spaces to meet a shared mission.”
-Paul Blake, Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs, Ferris State University
“Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities is pleased to be a part of this exciting project. We look forward to working with Grand Rapids Public Schools and other partners for decades to come to enhance and expand out-of-school programs for Roosevelt Park neighborhood children and teens.”
-Marjorie Kuipers, Executive Director, Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities
“We love Southwest Community Campus! It is a great school with great teachers! We are so excited that GRPS is expanding the school to include a high school. I know my neighbors are also excited because they are going to be able to serve more families in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood.”
-Rosa Isela Corona, Parent Action Leader and mother of 5th grade student at Southwest Community Campus
Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope.