GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Grand Rapids is the largest city so far in Michigan to receive certification as a Redevelopment Ready Community.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, an organization that works with local communities to grow the economy, recognized the city on Monday, May 21.

The title means the city has the foundation to attract investment after removing barriers to development and improving processes to be more competitive.

To receive the designation, the city went through an assessment that looked at community and economic development practices.

With all this talk of development, you’re probably thinking about the parking, or lack of, in downtown Grand Rapids.

“What we’re experiencing right now downtown is we have a lot of development on what used to be asphalt parking lots," said Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. "So as you think about downtown you think about highest and best use, and of course we want buildings and not asphalt parking lots, but in that midterm, there's a pain point.”

“What it does is really kind of create that good housekeeping seal of approval and so more and more developers will understand that GR is committed to this process and will look to the Grand Rapids area in terms of investment,” said Jeff Mason, the CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Mayor Bliss says this lays the foundation to build a strategic plan for economic development and updating the city’s master plan.

It has taken Grand Rapids about three years to receive the certification.

Grand Rapids is the latest to join 20 other Redevelopment Ready Communities, which include Muskegon, Hudsonville, Allegan, Kalamazoo and Lansing.

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