City of Grand Rapids Planning Department Wins Two Prestigious State Planning Awards | Community Spirit
The City of Grand Rapids Planning Department and the updated master plan “Green Grand Rapids” will be awarded for innovation in comprehensive planning and citizen engagement through the Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan and Outstanding Grass Roots Initiative by the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP/APA Michigan) at its annual conference, Planning Michigan, on October 17th, 2012.
The updated plan and the process used to create it have promoted the awareness of the benefits of good planning while providing top quality and transferability through its graphics and facilitated citizen participation process. The Dyer-Ives Foundation has been active in the process and Program Director Lee Nelson Weber considers the results to date a success. “The Green Grand Rapids effort represents a rare example of strong, community-wide engagement that has had, and will have, significant impact on the lives of local individuals and families.”
The Green Grand Rapids process did not just result in creating opportunities for citizen involvement – it assisted in the creation of citizen activists. New non-profit organizations have emerged for their respective causes, citizen committees and community organizations validated the plan and incorporated it recommendations into their work to improve the city. To date, more than $3 million has been invested and thousands of volunteer hours have been contributed. The DDA and Founders Brewing Company are financially supporting the work of Grand Rapids White Water (a new non-profit) to return the “rapids” back to the Grand River; and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks (another new nonprofit) organized nearly 1,700 volunteers to improve 35 city parks last year.
MAP is recognizing the Green Grand Rapids plan for its innovation, comprehensiveness, and community engagement methods in focusing on quality of life and the physical development of community infrastructure as it relates to parks, greening, connectivity, natural systems, the Grand River, and local food.
The Michigan Association of Planning, the state chapter of the American Planning Association, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sound community land use planning that benefits the residents of Michigan. Learn more at www.planningmi.org.