The Rapidian

City explores funding options for street repairs

The Sustainable Street Task Force asks for further funding to repair streets. Without improvements, 94% of our city streets will be in poor condition in nine years.
Underwriting support from:

Press Release and Presentation

City Press Release

SSTF presentation



Diamond Street north of Wealthy

Diamond Street north of Wealthy /Kristin Schmitt

detail of Diamond Street north of Wealthy

detail of Diamond Street north of Wealthy /Kristin Schmitt

The Sustainable Streets Task Force (SSTF) issued a press release urging the city to invest in roads now or risk the street system. Currently 63% or 588 miles of city streets are in poor condition. Without improvements 94% will be in poor condition in nine years. 

"The SSTF believes that our streets are our largest public spaces and a critical platform for success of our neighborhoods and business districts," says Deputy City Manager Eric Delong. "Good streets mean good neighborhoods and vital business districts."  
"Unfortunately, the longer we wait the more expensive it gets. We have to change our apathy about investing in our infrastructure, and that change needs to happen now," says SSTF member Christopher Reader.

Even with investments by the State of Michigan, new local investment will be needed. SSTF recommends a new local investment of $9 million per year for a period of 15 years. City officials are debating ways to get these funds for road improvement. 

"The SSTF is considering either a new property tax levy or maintaining the current income tax rate," says Delong.

Before deciding on a tax increase to raise the needed $22 million, the Task Force plans on conducting focus groups. These focus groups would gauge the community's reactions to the proposed funding methods.

"The Sustainable Streets Task Force is working to schedule those meetings," says Delong. "Tentative plans currently suggest focus group meetings in April and community meetings in May."
"Either [the tax levy or maintaining the current rate] would need to be approved by Grand Rapids voters before they go into effect," says Delong.
In addition to exploring funding options, the SSTF is looking into changing a 95-year old law to relieve property owners of sidewalk repair costs. The current program is costly, and SSTF believes a different approach would be more successful and relieve owners of the expense.
The city hopes that over the next 15 years, the street repairs and law change will revitalize business districts in additon to make more trail connections.
Roads are a vital component of a vibrant city, says the Task Force in their complete proposal presentation.

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.