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Community Updates: Friday, May 26

Grand Rapids City Commission passes ordinance to formally adopt the City's FY2024 budget; Grand Rapids Sister Cities International announces annual gala taking place in June; and more
Downtown Grand Rapids and the Grand River

Downtown Grand Rapids and the Grand River /Antonia Enos Burrows

Grand Rapids City Commission Passes Ordinance to Formally Adopt the City's FY2024 Budget

At its meeting on Tuesday, the Grand Rapids City Commission formally adopted the FY2024 Fiscal Plan.

The budget, which was developed by City Manager Mark Washington and other City staff, will allocate $643 million to various programs and projects that align with the six primary goals of the City's Strategic Plan: Economic Prosperity and Affordability, Health and Environment, Mobility, Safe Community, Engaged and Connected Community, and Governmental Excellence. With this financial plan, the City of Grand Rapids aims to create and improve solutions for many of the City's biggest issues (such as the need for affordable housing, homelessness prevention, environmental friendliness, infrastructure improvements, and more). According to the City Manager, "this $643 million fiscal plan will help move our city forward and address many important issues related to safety, health, environment, mobility, economic prosperity, housing and community engagement."

Mayor Bliss expressed her support for the FY2024 Fiscal Plan in Tuesday's press release while also acknowledging that the City of Grand Rapids still has more to do:

"There are a number of reasons why I am very proud of this budget along with several projects that I am excited to see move forward. I'm glad to see additional funding to continue the work we're doing with mental health co-response, to support our Police Department's recruiting efforts and the investment we're making in large capital projects that have been a priority in our community for years... While this budget accomplishes much, I recognize there will always be more work to be done. I am equally grateful for our residents, community leaders, businesses and partners who walk alongside us and collaborate in this important work."

The breakdown of the budget provided in the City's press release is as follows:

Strategic Plan Priority Budget Programs Supported
Economic Prosperity and Affordability $61 million Affordable housing, homelessness prevention, HOT Team, Grand River Greenway, etc.
Health and Environment $201 million Park improvements, lead line replacements, stormwater management, green infrastructure, etc.
Mobility $100.3 million DASH, electric bikes and scooters, biker safety measures, etc.
Safe Community $139.7 million Cure Violence, GRPD recruitment, GRFD Fire Training Center, SAFE Task Force, etc.
Engaged and Connected Community $20.6 million Commission Night Out, Wi-Fi in public parks, etc.
Governmental Excellence $167.1 million Youth employment initiatives, recruitment, etc.

The formal adoption of the FY2024 Fiscal Plan comes just a week after the City Commission held a public hearing to hear residents' thoughts on the proposed budget. During that meeting, many Grand Rapidians indicated their dissatisfaction with the City's financial plan, particularly as it relates to the funding allocated to the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD). 

To see Tuesday's full City Commission meeting, visit the City of Grand Rapids' YouTube channel or watch below:


Grand Rapids Sister Cities International Announces Annual Gala Taking Place in June

On Thursday, Grand Rapids Sister Cities International (GRSCI) announced that it will be hosting its annual gala in downtown Grand Rapids next month. Attendees will be able to hear from GRSCI, GRSCI's community partners, and the Sister Cities at this gala. They will also have the opportunity to partake in refreshments "inspired by Grand Rapids' Sister Cities."

Currently, Grand Rapids has six Sister Cities: Omihachiman, JapanGa District, GhanaBielsko-Biała, PolandZapopan, MexicoPerugia, Italy, and Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea. However, last week, GRSCI announced on its Facebook page that a seventh city will be added to this lineup. According to Leonardo Tombelli, the President of Grand Rapids Sister Cities International:

"This event really showcases our welcoming city as demonstrated by the inclusive message of the Sister Cities mission. We invite all Grand Rapidians to join us for this night of international fellowship as we celebrate our six Sister City partnerships and we look forward to announcing a new friendship city."

Dnipro, Ukraine has been announced as Grand Rapids's newest "friendship city." With a population of roughly one million people, Dnipro is one of Ukraine's largest cities. Like Grand Rapids, it is a "River City," situated on the Dnieper River in eastern Ukraine. Since January 2022, it has suffered numerous attacks by Russian ballistics and missiles during Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

The Grand Rapids Sister Cities International Annual Gala will take place between 6:00pm and 9:00pm on Wednesday, June 7 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel.

For more information about this event and/or to get tickets, click here


Also in the News:


  • The City of Grand Rapids has announced that Seeding Justice Grand Rapids, "an independent 501(C)(3) organization designed to help undo harm in Grand Rapids caused by inequitable war on drug policies and systematic racism," is looking for members of the community to join its board. To see requirements, visit the City's website.  



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