The Rapidian Home

Community Updates: Friday, November 4

City of Grand Rapids reports renewed economic growth and increased activity downtown; "Operation Green Light" to take place in Kent County next week; and more
Amway, the Blue Bridge, and the Grand River in between the trees

Amway, the Blue Bridge, and the Grand River in between the trees /John Rothwell

City of Grand Rapids Reports Renewed Economic Growth and Increased Activity Downtown

On March 13, 2020, the White House officially declared the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency. In response, numerous state leaders across the country enacted their own emergency orders and guidelines -- including the Michigan Stay Home, Stay Safe order that went into effect on March 23, 2020. As residents were sheltering in place, Grand Rapids saw a decrease in the overall amount of activity taking place downtown. Now, just over two and a half years later, the City of Grand Rapids has reported that it is seeing "activity levels... that were at or better than years prior to the pandemic." 

According to a press release sent out on November 2, Experience Grand Rapids, Inc. and Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. (DGRI) have collected data that shows renewed economic growth in downtown Grand Rapids. For example, the release states that, over the summer, there was a 38% increase in the amount of hotel rooms sold than there were in 2021. There have also been several new businesses established in 2022, resulting in a decrease in the rate of vacant storefronts downtown. However, the data also shows that there has been about a 5% decline in the occupancy rate of downtown office spaces.

The City of Grand Rapids is hopeful that this regrowth will continue as more events, such as World of Winter and the opening of the ice skating season at Rosa Parks Circle, are scheduled to take place downtown. Mark Washington, Grand Rapids City Manager, made the following statement in Wednesday's press release:

 "After a limited and altered outdoor skating season over the past two years, family skating returns to Rosa Parks Circle for the winter season in a few weeks. Our office spaces, restaurants, entertainment venues, museums and bars are open for business at full capacity. Whether you come Downtown to take part in Restaurant Week, enjoy a show or game, attend one of our special events, traverse one of our social districts, or begin your holiday shopping, Downtown Grand Rapids is back and ready to welcome you!"

To see the full press release and the data collected by Experience Grand Rapids, Inc. and Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc., click here


"Operation Green Light" to Take Place in Kent County Next Week

Kent County has announced that, between November 7 and November 13, there will be a green light shining outside of the Kent County Veterans Services Building on Fuller Avenue in Grand Rapids. This operation, otherwise known as "Operation Green Light," is a way to both honor the service of Kent County's veterans and make the community aware of the various programs, resources, and other support the Kent County Veterans Services has to offer. Martha Burkett, the Manager of Kent County Veteran's Services, made the following statement in a press release that was sent out on Monday, October 31:

"There are nearly 40 thousand veterans in Kent County who deserve to be recognized and honored for their sacrifices and services to our county and community. We want our veterans to know that their service mattered, and that there are available resources to assist them and their families."

According to Monday's release, many local businesses have also pledged to light up the exteriors of their own buildings with green lights in observance of "Operation Green Light."

To learn more, visit Kent County's website here


Also in the News:

  • The Michigan elections will occur on Tuesday, November 7. To see a list polling locations, click here. To see a list of candidates and proposals, click here.


  • The City of Grand Rapids has announced that the 2022 ice skating season at Rosa Parks Circle will officially begin on Friday, November 25.  


Sharing Your Stories

The Rapidian encourages local residents to share their own stories related to civic, economic, and public health developments in the Grand Rapids area on The Rapidian’s platform. To get started as a community reporter, visit

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.