The Rapidian

[AUDIO] City Commission considers plans from Uptown and Madison Square Corridor Improvement Authorities

Underwriting support from:

The embedded audio file contains two interviews:

1. Gertrude Hobson of the Madison Square Corridor Improvement Authority- recorded at City Hall after the hearings.

2. Baird Hawkins and Guy Bazzani of the Uptown Corridor Improvement Authority- recorded at Bazzani Associates shortly before the hearings. (The first voice heard belongs to Hawkins, the second to Bazzani.)

The Grand Rapids City Commission reviewed proposals from the city's two corridor improvement authorities, Uptown and Madison Square, Tuesday at City Hall (300 Monroe Ave. NW). Representatives from the two districts spoke in support of extensive neighborhood improvement plans that reach as far into the future as 2040. The city will vote next Tuesday (Aug. 3) on whether to adopt the plans and provide for tax increment funding for districts.

Corridor improvement districts (CIDs) are created in accordance with the 2005 Michigan Corridor Improvement Authority Act, which provides for the revitalization of older and deteriorating business communities and their surrounding neighborhoods. Improvements to CIDs are payed for in part by tax increment financing (TIF) through which tax dollars generated by increased property values are allowed to be reinvested in improvements to the business districts at the core of such neighborhoods. The Uptown Corridor is the larger of the two districts, encompassing the East Hills, Eastown, Midtown, and Fulton Heights business districts. The Madison Corridor runs east-west on Hall between Jefferson and Eastern, and north-south on Madison between Oakdale and Howard.

CID financing is difficult to establish and it is only a small financial step toward the improvement of a neighborhood. Leaders like Gertrude Hobson, of Madison Square, and Baird Hawkins, of Uptown, who both spoke at the hearing, have been working for years to bring safety, prosperity and sustainability to their communities. In his closing comments, Mayor George Heartwell said that he was “struck by the fact that there's probably as much power in the process as in the money that's coming out of it.” The plans being considered by the commission contain the loftiest goals of their respective communities, as well as the most practical. Getting them down on paper was only half the battle.

You can get an idea of what goes into that battle here, if you scroll toward the bottom.

Disclosure: Background information on CID's was sourced from the City Commission agenda e-packet, which is linked above, as well as the City of Grand Rapids website.

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You are doing critical work, Carolyn. Thanks for covering these events for others who can't make it. I wasn't even aware this was on the ballot for next weeks election.

The potential impact of these CID's is huge. Look at what the DDA has done for downtown. It will take time, but it is exciting indeed.

Another interesting city issue was the presentation of housing policy change recommendations (was at 10:30 am yesterday w/ the commission). That would be a key piece of legislation to help with the neighborhoods surrounding the business districts that these CID's are trying to help. Keep an eye out for more on this issue as something will likely happen with it soon.

Edit: already covered it here:

I second Ryan's plug and I also congratulate you on your awesome work covering City politics.  It is a huge asset to The Rapidian and this community.

Resolutions for both Corridor Improvement Districts and Tax Increment Financing plans are scheduled to be approved by the Committee of the Whole tomorrow at 9:30am.