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Community updates: Thursday, July 22

City of Grand Rapids replacing private lead service lines in Neighborhoods of Focus; The DAAC bringing back public art, music shows.
Intersection of Franklin St. and Fuller Ave., an area within the City of Grand Rapids' Neighborhoods of Focus.

Intersection of Franklin St. and Fuller Ave., an area within the City of Grand Rapids' Neighborhoods of Focus. /Brett Townsend

City of Grand Rapids replacing private lead service lines in Neighborhoods of Focus

Grand Rapids city commissioners approved and accepted a $5.1 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week, helping to replace around 1,600 private lead service lines in the city’s Neighborhoods of Focus.

The project will replace lead service lines between curb boxes and water meters with copper water services, according to the City of Grand Rapids, in addition to sidewalk and lawn restoration.

The city’s Neighborhoods of Focus are 17 census tracts in Grand Rapids with higher poverty, higher unemployment, and lower rates of educational attainment than elsewhere in the city. The tracts were identified as such by the city in 2016 through research funded by the Kellogg Foundation.

Private lead service line replacement is currently underway in neighborhoods bounded by Franklin St., Eastern Ave., Hall St., and Jefferson Ave. The project includes the replacement of around 230 private lead service lines over the next six months.

“For years, we have been committed to protecting our city’s water resources for our community, especially for those in Neighborhoods of Focus,” said Wayne Jernberg, the city’s Water System Manager. “With the EPA’s help, we are able to add more service replacements in Neighborhoods of Focus and complete these projects more quickly.”

According to the City of Grand Rapids, it has already replaced around 1,700 lead service lines since it began full replacements in 2017. Prior to 2017, lead service line replacement on private property had been the responsibility of the homeowner.

The Grand Rapids Water System has inventoried the public and private water service line materials in its system, finding more than 24,000 lead service lines in the city. As of last week, it identifies around 13,000, or 54 percent, of those as located in the Neighborhoods of Focus. The City of Grand Rapids identifies these neighborhoods as some of the oldest developed areas in the region.

More details about the city’s Lead Service Line Replacement Program are available on its website.


The DAAC bringing back public art, music shows

The Division Avenue Arts Collective (DAAC) is resuming public art and music shows this month, following its reopening this year in a new Creston neighborhood location and limit on such events because of the pandemic.

A volunteer-run arts nonprofit, The DAAC aims to serve as an all-ages, substance-free music venue, art gallery, and DIY project incubator for local and emerging artists. It reopened in Feb. at 1553 Plainfield Ave. NE after the 2013 closure of its original Division Ave. space and temporary operations at Rumsey St. SW in between. The DAAC began in 2003.

Since April, The DAAC has been hosting bi-weekly Open Studio Nights with a 15-person capacity limit. Starting July 31, DAAC-led art and music shows kick off with a 30-person capacity, growing to a 45-person capacity in Aug.

The July 31 show will be its DAAC Fan Art Exhibit Opening happening from 6-10pm. The exhibit will feature submitted artwork that highlights artists’ love for The DAAC, with proceeds of all art sold going to support the organization's continued operations. Performances by local poets will also take place.

Public music shows will follow after the Fan Art exhibit opening, according to The DAAC. Dates and performers have yet to be announced.

Artwork for The DAAC’s Fan Art exhibit can be submitted and dropped off at its space on July 21, 22, and 28 from 6-8pm. The exhibit runs through Aug. 27 with select dates and times shared through its website.


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