Three years ago in Grand Rapids, Michigan, residents of the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood, community groups and stakeholders opened their minds to a deeper understanding of the neighborhoods unique challenges and opportunities. They began to develop a neighborhood-driven vision for the revitalization of the predominately Hispanic, traditionally working class area.
On November 21, 2016, eight community partners announced plans for the proposed Plaza Roosevelt Development. This 5.5-acre mixed-use development will include affordable and rental housing, a high school, preschool classrooms, an increase in healthcare services at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Clinica Santa Maria, shared community spaces, among other projects. A new $20 million high school will anchor a Spanish/English dual immersion program in Plaza Roosevelt.
The site planning process is said to be based on values of equitable development; development that benefits people in the neighborhood and reflects the residents’ feelings about a healthy neighborhood and community engagement.
“This amazing development opportunity truly demonstrates the power of people and partnership and how we in Grand Rapids come together to support our students, families, and neighbors,’‘ said GRPS Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal.
BriAnne McKee, executive director of the Habitat for Humanity Kent County, said that the energy generated from the neighborhood engagement process spurred other organizations to want to join in the revitalization effort.
Photo of student mural in Roosevelt Park via Grand Rapids Magazine.