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City Commission to discuss quality of life concerns in downtown GR

The Chamber of Commerce says the measures would not criminalize homelessness or ban panhandling, but make downtown Grand Rapids safer.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids City Commission on Tuesday will discuss how they will respond to calls for help made by downtown Grand Rapids businesses.

This comes after the city received several calls of concern, noting unacceptable behavior in the downtown area. The Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to city officials in July asking them to address concerns from business owners who reported having issues like harassment and drug use.

They said in some cases, businesses were needing to hire their own security to protect employees and customers.

In a letter sent to city officials last week, the chamber says they appreciate the city's help to address the situation. The chamber says it believes that the current status quo is failing individuals needing services, employees returning to the office and the growing number of residents and visitors in business districts downtown.

During Tuesday's City Commission meeting, the chamber is asking the city to adopt an ordinance that prohibits harassment and regulates the use of public spaces and solicitation.

Similar ordinances have been implemented in cities like Walker, Kentwood and Wyoming.

In the request for these ordinances, it was said that these measures would not criminalize homelessness or ban panhandling.

The chamber says the goal is that it would make public spaces safer while also encouraging members of the homeless community to take advantage of services offered by the city.

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