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GR commissioners add 2 social districts, city touts success

More businesses are joining in on the COVID-19 era addition that's bringing alcohol consumption outside.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — With the orange and red hues of fall on full display, the City of Grand Rapids is inviting the public to visit one of their nine social districts and support local businesses.

“Whether you dine under a colorful canopy of leaves or take a cocktail for a stroll under a hunter’s moon, our social districts are a great way to enjoy River City, appreciate a beautiful autumn season and support our local businesses,” Media Relations Manager Steve Guitar said in a news release.

Social districtsalso regarded as refreshment areasare outdoor areas designated for alcohol consumption that were a way to support liquor sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We continue to rebound from the pandemic in a way that gives residents and visitors the opportunity to revisit their favorite Grand Rapids locales,” said Mayor Rosalynn Bliss in the release. “These spaces have added unique vibrancy to many business districts and have helped restaurants and lounges rebound and thrive.”

Grand Rapids previously had four social districts, but on Oct. 4, city commissioners approved the addition of two more the East Fulton Social District (Fulton Street from Union to Carleton), East Hills Social District (Cherry Street from Eastern to Diamond and Lake Drive from Eastern to Luton (Diamond Avenue from Fulton to Wealthy).

“We were so excited when the East Fulton Business Association and the East Hills Business Association approached us and asked us to get this designation,” said Ingrid Miller, Executive Director of Uptown Grand Rapids, Inc. “It just adds that extra layer to that vibrancy by allowing people to kind of come out of the businesses and onto the sidewalks and enjoy it in a different way.”

According to the release, Grand Rapids leads the state with their nine districts, with 63 businesses in total participating.

It's a different way to support local business is Restaurant Week, and according to ExperienceGR, it starts Nov. 4.


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