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Mayor Rosalynn Bliss delivers State of the City address with five key plans for GR

Bliss spent the evening highlighting the good that's been done in Grand Rapids, as well as looking to the future.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The State of the Union wasn't the only address given Tuesday night. Locally, Grand Rapids mayor Rosalynn Bliss gave her annual State of the City address.

Bliss spent the evening highlighting the good that's been done in Grand Rapids, as well as looking to the future.

She broke her speech down into five key points the city is focusing on: public safety, housing, economic opportunity, investing in place and sustainability and climate.

Bliss's focus on public safety first came with a farewell to outgoing police chief Eric Payne, and welcome to the next chief, Eric Winstrom.

"He was attracted to our city in part by the opportunity to work for a community that boldly aspires to build one of the most trusted police departments in the nation," said Bliss.

Also noting their partnership is one she looks forward to grow.

"Working together, I really believe we can be successful, and that Grand Rapids will be a model to other cities," she said.

Housing was a major focus of the address. Bliss pointed out the city is experiencing rapid growth.

"A four percent growth rate means that we need to build not dozens, not hundreds of more homes, we need to build thousands of more homes as quickly as possible," she said, noting that affordable housing is already on the way.

"We're currently tracking an additional 700 affordable new housing units in the development pipeline, and many of these units will be online and available in 2023," said Bliss.

As the pandemic appears to be winding down, Bliss says the city's economic opportunity is on the rise.

"Our neighborhoods and downtown business districts are springing back to life," she said.

Highlighting the new developments that announced moves into Grand Rapids in the last year.

"Including Spectrums Center for Health and Transformation and Innovation, Perrigo's headquarters, BAMF health, all along the Medical Mile and North Monroe," said Bliss.

Which ties into another of the city's focuses, investing in place.

"The City of Grand Rapids alone last year issued building permits for projects totaling $443 million worth of work, the third highest year ever," said Bliss.

She says the city is keeping that business here.

"We increased the number of micro-local business enterprises now registered to do business with the city by over 70%," said Bliss. "These are small local construction and professional service firms."

Mayor Bliss also touched on her fifth focus, sustainability and climate.

She says the city is currently working to put together its first ever climate action and adaptation plan, addressing disparities communities of color face in the climate crisis.


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