2011 Promising Projects — Encouraging Civic Progress
The projects listed below, from grants awarded last year, provide examples of "on-target" proposals in each of the Foundation's grantmaking program areas that seem to hold promise of high impact if implemented as planned.
Grand Action Foundation - $1,000,000www.grandaction.org
Grand Action Foundation is leading an effort to build a LEED-certified, year-round farmers market (Market) along a stretch of the southern downtown Grand Rapids poised for redevelopment. The planned two-story, 140,000 square-feet Market will replace a cluster of six buildings that are long past their prime. The 3.5-acre site will feature permanent space for more than 50 seasonal vendors and parking for more than 200 vehicles. Inside the Market will boast 2 restaurants, a banquet hall, and more than 20 specialty food vendors.
Once complete, the Market is expected to become a regional hub for the production, distribution and sales of locally grown and produced food; and over a ten-year period generate 1,270 jobs and $775 million of regional economic impact. The potential to help revitalize the surrounding neighborhood while stimulating significant regional economic activity aligns with the priorities of the Enhancing Civic Progress grantmaking focus area.
Midtown Neighborhood Association - $230,000www.midtowngr.org
In response to stakeholder input and market demand, the Midtown neighborhood Association (Midtown) is leading the revitalization of the Fulton Street Farmers Market (Market), improving its efficiency, accessibility and ultimately its economic impact on the surrounding neighborhood as well as the greater Grand Rapids area.
The new Market will provide increased vending opportunities from current 80-stall capacity to 118 stalls, improved signage, entrance, exit and traffic flow, and add a single story ‘head house’ to accommodate 8-12 stalls for year-round vending.
A strong performer, the seasonal open-air Market provides a direct marketing environment for produce and other farm fresh food and crafts, attracting more than 8,000 visitors per week in season and significant revenue for the farmers and crafters who vend from the site. Investment in the improvement of anchor organizations within older neighborhoods is priority of Civic Progress grantmaking.