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About Uptown Grand Rapids

Sustaining a Strong and Vibrant Urban District for Our Neighborhoods.

Our Mission and Goals

Uptown GR brings people, partnerships and possibilities together to sustain a strong and vibrant urban district. We have four thematic goals: Uptown Thrives, Uptown Invites, Uptown Moves and Uptown Organizes. Together, these goals help grow the local economy while preserving the distinct character of each business district, attracting visitors through place making and activities and supporting people-first mobility to and within the area.

Woman serving icecream in updown Grand Rapids, MI

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in Uptown

Uptown is a place where equity thrives.

As an organization, we are committed to taking action that makes all people feel welcome and included in Uptown.

That means we look at all four of our strategic objectives with an equity lens. We begin each monthly board meeting by posing the following challenge as an opportunity to adjust and focus our lens for the work ahead:

How will what we act on, discuss, or inform about, contribute to our forward progress on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?

If you have ideas related to Uptown’s continuing commitment to taking action to build equity, please send an email to tell us what you believe will inform our next steps. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us as we continue the work that will be essential to Uptown’s welcome to all.

Who is Uptown?

Who is Uptown graphic

Uptown Boards

Corridor Improvement Authority

Oversees investment of City tax dollars to make improvements to public infrastructure, support specific capital improvement projects and market Uptown. It’s governed by a City-appointed board which consists of local property owners, business owners and one resident of the district.

Uptown Grand Rapids, Inc.

Serves as the fiduciary for planning, management and fundraising for Uptown, its districts and neighborhoods. Sets strategic plans, maintains policies and manages staff and volunteers. Uptown Inc. appoints committee members from a roster of volunteers. Each committee includes an Uptown board member who serves as a liaison between the committee and the board.

Business Improvement District

Self-funded mechanism to maintain, develop and promote Uptown through promotions, awareness campaigns, streetscape enhancements and business recruitment and retention. It consists of non-residential properties in a defined geographic boundary to enhance the district as a destination place for shopping, dining, working and living.

Uptown Committees

Three volunteer-run committees are responsible for planning, implementing and managing activities to support Uptown’s strategic objectives.


Promotes Uptown businesses through owned and earned channels, community events and promotional materials.

Business Development

Supports development of current and new businesses and commercial spaces through networking events, seminars and newsletters.


Focuses on streetscape, and public space design and improvements.

Uptown Strategic Objectives

Uptown Thrives

Grow the local economy while preserving the distinct character of each district.

Uptown Invites

Attract people to Uptown through placemaking and activities.

Uptown Moves

Support a people-first mobility plan that advocates for public transit, safety and wayfinding.

Uptown Organizes

Plan, manage and fundraise collaboratively for Uptown, its business districts and neighborhoods.

Join a Meeting

Click the Links Below To Join Meetings or For More Information

Uptown Board / CIA Board / BID Board



Annie Bishop

Uptown Board

East Hills Business Association Representative

Arielle Leipham Ellis

Uptown Board

President Uptown GR Inc., Fulton Heights Neighborhood Representative

Christine Helms-Maletic

Uptown Board

Midtown Neighborhood Representative

Commissioner Bing Goei

BID BoardCIA Board

Dakota Riehl-Davis

Uptown Board

Vice-President, Uptown GR Inc., Eastown Community Association Representative

Emilee Syrewicze

Uptown Board

East Fulton Business Association Representative

Joana Hively

BID BoardCIA Board

Lynn Happel

BID BoardCIA Board

Mark Stoddard

CIA BoardUptown Board

Treasurer Uptown GR Inc., CIA Representative

Mary Reagan-Shapton

Uptown Board

Wealthy Street Business Alliance representative

Matt Smith

BID BoardCIA Board

Ryan Wheeler

BID Board

Sarah Rainero

Uptown Board

Economic Development Director, City of Grand Rapids

Stephanie Johnson

BID BoardCIA Board

Steven Martinez

Uptown Board

Secretary Uptown GR Inc., Eastown Business Association Representative


BID BoardUptown Board

BID Board Representative


Uptown Board

Uptown Grand Rapids, Inc. - At-Large

Uptown GR Team

Ingrid Miller
Executive Director

Dana Kroll
Marketing and Communications Specialist

Julia Saldivia
Community Engagement Coordinator

Uptown Ambassador Program

At the start of 2021, Uptown partnered with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. to add boots-on-the-ground maintenance to the district. Here are some impressive stats on their impact on our district so far:

•Rubbish removal: 66.5 tons
•Biohazard waste removal: 73 units
•Graffiti removal: 2,268 pieces
•Business contacts: 121
•Asset management: 3,453 occurrences
•Hospitality/Engagement Activity: 687 occurrences

To report maintenance issues to public spaces within our district, dial:
Have an interest in the program or in learning more about career opportunities with the Ambassadors? Reach out directly:

REBECCA KRENZ, OPERATIONS MANAGER “Our Ambassador Program consists of a truly unique team of dedicated and dynamic professionals that keep Uptown clean, beautiful, and friendly for visitors, workers, and neighbors, alike. Making a positive impact in this burgeoning and eclectic community is deeply important and fulfilling to all of us on the team.”

Governing Documents

General Board Information 

The Uptown Board of Directors organizes the strategic plan and serves as the fiduciary for planning, management and fundraising for Uptown, its districts and neighborhoods. They also set strategic plans, maintain policies and manage staff and volunteers..

Uptown Loves Bikes

We’re here to help Uptown businesses.