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Community Updates: Friday, Apr. 1

More funds for infrastructure are coming to Grand Rapids; PBGR asks for ideas on how to improve local neighborhoods; new residents and exhibits at John Ball Zoo; and more
A view of downtown Grand Rapids and The Blue Bridge.

A view of downtown Grand Rapids and The Blue Bridge. /Antonia Enos Burrows

More funds for infrastructure are coming to Grand Rapids

Michigan lawmakers recently announced their approval of a $4.7 billion statewide infrastructure package, known as the Building Michigan Together Plan. SB 565 and HB 5525 will appropriate money throughout the state of Michigan for things like:

  • Public transportation & roads
  • Housing & rental assistance
  • Water infrastructure
  • Parks & recreation
  • Internet access
  • And more

Of the $4.7 billion, the City of Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. will receive $55 million towards the Grand River Greenway Project. DGRI and the City of Grand Rapids hope to use these funds to improve the city’s parks and establish a recreational trail along the Grand River, connecting the cities of Grand Rapids and Grand Haven. The bill also includes $40 million towards the widening of the M-37 highway in the Byron Center area, allowing for easier travel in and out of Grand Rapids.

The bipartisan plan passed through both the Michigan House of Representatives and the Michigan Senate on Thursday, March 24, 2022 and was officially signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. 


The City of Grand Rapids is asking for ideas on how to improve local neighborhoods

The Participatory Budgeting Grand Rapids Committee is asking Rapidians for their suggestions on how to improve local neighborhoods. With $2 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, money can be allocated all over the city for community projects and development. The PBGR Committee is accepting ideas through May 31, 2022. For more information on how the specifics of the funding and how to submit your ideas, visit the City of Grand Rapids Participatory Budgeting website.


New residents and exhibits at John Ball Zoo

John Ball Zoo has announced the arrival of several new residents, just in time for the opening of the 2022 season!

Two cotton top tamarin and some Emperor newt babies were born this month. In the wild, both species are facing population decline due to habitat loss and other factors. John Ball Zoo has also welcomed some Baron's racers, a species of venomous snake native to South America. Upcoming move-ins include wallabies and two male koalas. There will also be a new traveling art exhibit, called Washed Ashore, at the zoo this summer.

In addition to new residents and a new exhibit, John Ball Zoo has also announced new measures to protect our feathered friends. Due to West Michigan's recent surge of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (Bird Flu), the zoo's animal care teams have decided to temporarily quarantine some of the birds -- including chickens, eagles, and owls.

For more information on the zoo and their upcoming exhibits, visit their website.


Also in the news:

  • The Rapid has announced a series of long-term detours to several of their routes due to downtown construction. Visit their website to see which routes are affected.


  • The City of Grand Rapids has announced a summertime construction project that will close parts of Market Avenue and Fulton Street. Market Avenue will be closed between Oakes Street and Campau Avenue. Fulton Street will be closed from US-131 to Ottawa Avenue. The street closures are expected to last until late August. Check out this map for more details.


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