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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority on Wednesday approved a grant worth nearly $40,000 to help BarFly Ventures install parklets outside some of the company's bars and restaurants in the Arena District.

The Streetscape Improvement Incentive Program grants would reimburse 50 percent of the total costs for BarFly to build parklets outside Grand Rapids Brewing Company, McFadden's Saloon, and Stella's Lounge, according to the DDA. Those parklets would turn some parking spaces into outdoor seating for patrons. BarFly has requested approval from the city's Planning Commission to expand food and alcohol permits to include that seating.

The DDA also approved a SIIP grant worth $35,000 to help the owners of the Calder Plaza Building pay for some improvement projects. Those projects include new surface concrete, a decorative paver system, planters, street trees, landscaping, lighting, benches, and bike racks on the Monroe and plaza sides of the building. Those projects are scheduled to start next spring.

A proposed visitor information center based at the Grand Rapids Art Museum is getting $30,000 in DDA support. The GoSite is to offer visitors to Grand Rapids information from cultural groups, businesses, and community organizations.

Other DDA action taken Wednesday includes approval of several event sponsorships. A $30,000 sponsorship of ArtPrize was approved, as was a $20,000 sponsorship of Restaurant Week Grand Rapids.

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