Skip to content

Uptown Beautification In Full Bloom:

By Dana Kroll, Uptown Marketing and Communications Specialist

Multi-pronged District Beautification Strategy For 2021 Well Underway in Uptown Grand Rapids

In order to offer a district that Thrives and Invites (two of Uptown GR, Inc.’s four core strategic objectives), the organization is underway with a fleet of improvements and beautification endeavors, district-wide. The following describes the various prongs of this strategy, each of which have been made possible through the planning and hard work of its various volunteer committees. The projects have been funded through the organization’s Business Improvement District (BID) and/or its Corridor Improvement Authority (CIA).

Ambassador program

At the beginning of 2021 Uptown engaged in a partnership with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) to add a boots-on-the-ground maintenance presence to the entire district. The Ambassadors are charged with emptying trash receptacles, removing graffiti, handling rubbish removal along curbsides, serving as stewards of information to visitors and guests, and more.  

Says Rebecca Krenz, Operations Manager for the Ambassador Program, “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.”

New artworks

In a continuation of Uptown’s commitment to support local artists there and add visual impact to the district, the organization has once again sponsored a new installation, this time a mural, which is to be located on the Matchbox Diner building, in Eastown. The Uptown website includes a map highlighting all the installations that can be found in the district, in order to make these assets accessible to all.

Planting Season

The Uptown landscape has been greatly improved, thanks to the following endeavors: A partnership with Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, who have planted 50 new trees throughout the district; A revamp of all public beds and garden areas, including fresh mulch; and the addition of galvanized trough-style planters which flank various portions of the East Fulton district due to coordination by the East Fulton Business Association.

Façade Improvement Program

In 2020 Uptown kicked off its Façade Improvement Program, created to support business and property owners by providing applicants a reimbursement towards façade rehabilitations. Approved projects thus far include 967 Cherry Street, the location of the long-standing Cherie Inn, as well as 1048 Wealthy Street, the soon-to-be home of Paddle North, a new business to the district. These projects have begun taking shape in earnest and are slated to be completed by the end of the year.

Says Ingrid Miller, Executive Director for Uptown GR. Inc., “We are pleased to partner with property and business owners to leverage the façade improvement funds to restore their buildings. These improvements benefit the entire district by preserving and celebrating the historic character of the neighborhood.”

Uptown consists of four business districts: Eastown, East Fulton, Wealthy Street, and East Hills. In all climates, Uptown celebrates its people, partnerships, and possibilities. Its mission is to sustain a strong and vibrant urban district through planning, coordinating, and communicating with and between all sectors of the Uptown community and beyond.

For more information about the Grand Rapids Uptown Ambassador Program, please contact Rebecca Krenz.

For more information about this and all things Uptown, please contact Ingrid Miller.