Grand Rapids Michigan moved up on the list of Best-Performing Cities this year from #48 to #25, becoming the only Midwest metro on the list. Other Cities in the top 25 include San Francisco (#1), Austin (#2), Denver & Boulder (#13 & 14), Portland (#16), San Diego (#22) and Charlotte (#23).
The Milken Institute is “a nonprofit, nonparitsan economic think tank” that “works to improve lives around the world by advancing innovative economic and policy solutions that create jobs, widen access to capital, and enhance health.”
“GRAND RAPIDS–WYOMING, MICHIGAN, vaulted 23 places to 25th place, becoming the only Midwest metro in our Top 25. Strong job growth, which was 7 percent above the national average in 2012-13, coupled with recent wage growth contributed to the metro’s improved showing.
“Building on the existing manufacturing base, jobs are beginning to return to the Grand Rapids-Wyoming metro after a sharp drop in employment during the recession. The metro lost more than 10,000 manufacturing positions between 2008 and 2009, and was still slightly below 2008 levels of sector employment in 2013. However, the machinery manufacturing sector added 1,291 jobs between 2008 and 2013, with half of those jobs added in 2013. The fabricated-metal manufacturing sector also added jobs–637 in 2013–and this recent momentum is creating a sense of optimism.
“Firstronics, which provides electronics manufacturing services and focuses on contract medical-device manufacturing, announced in late 2013 that it would add 110 jobs and committed to a $2.45-million expansion in Grand Rapids.”
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – After more than a year of negotiating, the city and the prospective developer of a parking lot at the corner of Fulton Street and Ionia Avenue NW are ready to proceed with a deal that could yield an 8-story building.
Grand Rapids City Commission on Jan. 22 is expected to consider a three-year option for CWD Real Estate to purchase the property adjacent to the Ottawa-Fulton parking ramp and across Fulton from Van Andel Arena….
Last Wednesday the Grand Rapids DDA Board approved over $2.5 million in support for some major downtown projects. The Downtown Urban Market project will receive $1,067,445 out of future tax revenue it generates.
$850,000 will be used to design and construct a new AMTRAK station just south of The Rapid Central Station. The new station will be larger and will eliminate the traffic stoppages that currently occur twice a day on Wealthy and Market streets when the train is being boarded.
The Fix on I-196 project is holding a ribbon cutting ceremony this Friday on the Coit Avenue bridge. The project reconstructed and widened two miles of freeway and replaced five bridges. It was funded by the $787 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Activity is scheduled for 11/19/10 at 11am
photo: BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
“Sauer’s tiny Seattle home is remarkable. But it shouldn’t be.
“I wanted to compress my home to squirt me back out to the community,” he says, taking inspiration from dwellings in Scandinavia and Japan, places where space is dear. “That was one of the philosophical reasons. I want to be able to shop daily, not store a lot and eat really well.”
Homeowners are building smaller in general. It’s economical and ecological. But few do it in 11-feet-3-inches wide, by 16-feet-2-inches deep, by 10-feet-4-inches tall (Sauer is very accurate) with two beds, a full kitchen with a dishwasher, bathroom with a shower, a soaking tub set into the floor just inside the front door. On three living levels. There’s also closet space, a dining table and storage for two bikes. All of it contemporary and in cool blue, with accents of black, red and white…”
Link to full RAPIDIAN ARTICLE
A coalition of 24 community organizations will be presenting a position paper to the Grand Rapids City Commission at 10:30am tomorrow (7/27/2010) calling for cooperation to address growing housing concerns as a result of the recent changes in the real estate market.
The position paper calls for three primary issues to be addressed.
* Ensuring a minimum standard of quality among all rental units by adding single family rental units to the City’s rental inspection and certification program.
* Redesigning the City’s vacant property inspections program to mitigate the negative effects that the foreclosure crisis has had on property values, crime, and neighborhood stability.
* Creating a comprehensive, accessible, and accurate database of parcel information.
All hail the queens of frugal blogging!
>>excerpt…read full article at above link<<
Jolon Hull hunts coupon deals for metro Grand Rapids savers, and Cindy Curtis turns up discounts for those who buy locally. Why are you spending so much, they ask.
Jolon Hull had never used a coupon in her life until last year. Then everything changed, and the frugality queen was born.
Cindy Curtis left a successful career in sales and now pounds the pavement to find unique and new businesses around Grand Rapids.
Both West Michigan women believe local consumers will follow them on the path of saving money and supporting area business through the new websites they’ve launched. They spend long hours posting every deal they can find on their individual savings websites so that busy people don’t have to search the Internet.
That’s what makes them different than the vast array of national sites offering savings and discounts around the country. Hull and Curtis want you to keep your money here.
Hull created Savvy Chic Savings last fall to help her and others save money and find the best local deals. Her goal is to post seven to 10 new offers every day, checking primarily pharmacies, grocery stores and online discounts in what she calls “frugal blogging.”
An unusual activity for Hull, 30, a single woman who hadn’t thought much about saving money on purchases. But when a cousin gave the Sparta woman a $10 razor she got for a dollar, and a handful of free personal care items, Hull changed her mind about couponing.
Hull really started paying attention, when in one month, she ended up with $761 in free brand name items at a local drugstore by following sales, using coupons and signing up for a loyalty card.
“I never saw any value in coupons until I realized how much you can get free,” Hull says. “Obviously I saw the value in this and the value of the Internet. Now I do all the work to help my readers get the best deals…”
Check it out! My Sign is used in the story:
(Fortune) — It is not the kind of view you expect these days in downtrodden Michigan. From this rooftop plaza on the 17th floor of Bridgewater Place, evidence of urban renewal spreads in every direction. Directly to the south is the modern campus of Grand Valley State University, home to 11,000 students. Across the Grand River lies the sprawl of the redeveloped entertainment district, with its new arena and convention center, steps away from downtown business and government office buildings. Atop a hill to the east is the city’s crown jewel: a $1 billion (and growing) medical complex that includes a cancer research center, specialized treatment facilities, and a medical school.
This is Grand Rapids, a small city (pop. 200,000) in western Michigan with a redevelopment plan that has lessons for other cities looking to engineer new growth after the decline of old-economy industries. That this plan has taken hold in, of all places, the Rustbelt of Michigan makes it all the more remarkable. Two decades ago the city could have been headed the way of Flint, Pontiac, and, yes, Detroit. But instead its fortunes have steadily improved, thanks to a remarkable combination of business leadership, public-private cooperation, and the deep pockets of local philanthropists.
Grand Rapids is much smaller than that city on Michigan’s eastern coast, Detroit (pop. 800,000). Its populace is a bit more diverse, its suburban leaders were willing to work with city government, and its issues were much less complex. But at a moment when corporate, philanthropic, and political leaders in Detroit are just beginning the process of working together to help revive the city (see “Downsizing Detroit” on time.com), the Grand Rapids reinvention is worth examining. For years Detroiters were promised that one master project after another would solve their woes. None did. But in Grand Rapids, business leaders painstakingly set goals, aligned with government officials, generated support, and empowered key players. “Every community has a culture, and you have to pick out what works in your own town,” says Birgit Klohs, the energetic head of Right Place, a local economic development group. “You have to figure out who the leaders are, get them onto a team, create the vision, and get everybody headed in the same direction.”
more at bit.ly/gogr
(AP) — New rules for lead paint removal go into effect April 22, adding a bit more time and cost to some home renovations.
The Environmental Protection Agency will require all contractors be certified to take out lead paint. Previously, no certification was required and homeowners could “opt-out” of lead-safe practices if no children under six years old or pregnant women lived in the house.
The EPA estimates the new rules will add an hour to project clean-up and add just under $100 per job for most renovations. The agency estimates about 38 million homes and apartment units, or 40 percent of the housing stock, contain lead paint.
The remodeling industry, however, said the EPA’s cost estimates are too low. Members of the National Association of Home Builders have estimated the cost will climb between $500 and $1,500 on larger jobs because it could extend each day’s cleanup by hours…
Mayor George Heartwell delivered his State of the City address Saturday morning before a packed crowd at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids. He was introduced by Grand Valley State University President Tom Haas as “progressive, hardworking, compassionate, yet tough-minded.”