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The need for smart transit-oriented development accelerates

The need for smart transit-oriented development accelerates

by Deborah Johnson Wood
This story originally appeared in Rapid Growth

My Town: Grand Rapids among 2014 America's Most Affordable Cities

My Town: Grand Rapids among 2014 America's Most Affordable Cities

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Grand Rapids is adding another honor to its list of titles.

The city has made it onto Forbes Magazine’s list of America’s Most Affordable Cities for 2014.  Grand Rapids ranked seventh on the list, based on population (774,160 people), the Housing Opportunity Index ( 85.1) , which measures housing affordability, and a cost-of-living index (97.6), which factors in food, utilities, gas, transportation, medical expenses and other daily costs. Cities with an index number below 100 are below the national cost-of-living average.

Buffalo, NY took the top spot.  Warren, MI ranked 10, and Detroit tied with Toledo, OH for 11th place.

My Town GR: Proos Manufacturing expanding and hiring

My Town GR: Proos Manufacturing expanding and hiring

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—An auto parts supplier in Grand Rapids is expanding, adding 50 new jobs.

Proos Manufacturing will invest $5.7 million into renovating its Oak Industrial Drive facility to ramp up its fabrication and stamping operations.  When the expansion is finished, the manufacturer will have 113 employees.

The plans were announced Wednesday, after Proos Manufacturing secured a $200,000 Michigan Business Development Program grant.  The funding is part of a $715,000 incentive package by The Right Place, Inc., the City of Grand Rapids and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

My Town GR: Side street plowing rescheduled amid new snow

My Town GR: Side street plowing rescheduled amid new snow

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The City of Grand Rapids is postponing clearing snow from the city’s side streets as crews focus on removing a fresh blanket of snow from major roadways.

The city says snow clearing in the area of I-196 to Fulton and Lafayette to Fuller will now take place Monday, March 3.  The work was previously scheduled for Feb. 27.

Side street clearing in the area of Knapp to Leonard and Plainfield to Fuller is being rescheduled for Tuesday, March 3.  The work was supposed to take place Feb. 28 before the latest round of snow hit.

Disability Advocates of Kent County hold bus stop clearing contest

Disability Advocates of Kent County hold bus stop clearing contest

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The higher temperatures and rain will likely not rid West Michigan of all of its snow, which is why the Disability Advocates of Kent County is inviting all shovelers to take part in a contest.

The organization is asking everyone to help dig out bus stops in the Grand Rapids metro area, which are buried under snow.  While many people can climb over the snow banks to get on buses, people with disabilities cannot.

People who dig out a bus stop are asked to take a before and after picture and email them to Aric Coleman at aric.c@dakc.us , along with the location of the bus stop.  The Disability Advocates of Kent County will post the pictures on its Facebook Page to recognize your efforts.  Members of the group that clears the most stops by Feb.

Former Congressional candidate joins Airport Board

Former Congressional candidate joins Airport Board

KENTWOOD, Mich.—There’s a new face on the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Board.

The Kent County Board of Commissioners announced the appointment of Steve Heacock Monday.  The seven-member Airport Board is responsible for the general oversight of Gerald R. Ford Ford International Airport.  Heacock replaces former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, who left the board last December.  His term will run through Dec. 31, 2016.

Heacock has served as chairman of the Convention and Arena Authority, which owns and operates Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place.  He  served on the Kent County Board of Commissioners fir sux years, including two years as the chairman.  Heacock, who is a Grand Rapids resident, is the senior vice president of public affairs for Spectrum Health Systems.  He was also the chief administrative officer, general counsel and board secretary of the Van Andel Institute for six years.

G.R. Camper, Travel and RV Show sets attendance record

G.R. Camper, Travel and RV Show sets attendance record

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Organizers of the Grand Rapids Camper, Travel and RV Show say Thursday’s attendance was up 20 percent, setting a new opening day record for the event.

Organizers say the jump in attendance reflects rising demand in the RV industry.  According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, RV sales this year could top 335,000, the most in six years.  RVIA says improving consumer spending as well as housing and stock markets are fueling the increase, as well as low interest rates.

 The Camper, Travel & RV Show runs through Jan. 26.