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Grand River Equity Framework: Equitable Economic Development

City of Grand Rapids
Grand River downtown Grand Rapids.

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. has released its Grand River Equity Framework containing six goals and strategies for making the Grand River revitalization project equitable for local Black, Indigenous, and people of color. The first of the framework’s six goals is equitable economic development.

Restoring the Grand River to its natural state improving habitat and river flow is designed to revitalize downtown Grand Rapids spurring economic growth. It’s often referred to as the “River for All” project. Black, Indigenous, and people of color have come together under the banner Grand River Voices making sure they’re included in the decision-making process and benefiting from its outcomes. The leading goal identified seeks equitable economic development.

Through river programs and policies, there’s a desire for create quality jobs and career pathways. It includes supporting local BIPOC businesses. Also, taking advantage of river-related policies stabilizing neighborhoods and activating community economic development. What’ the strategy for getting there?

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.’s Grand River Equity Framework specifies as city and county river contracts take shape, local hires include 30% of total work hours. That includes 20% of total hours worked from BIPOC and underemployed area residents.

Other benchmarks include doubling the number of Micro Local Business Enterprise over two years and that 30% of city and county river contract spending include Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, Micro Local Business Enterprise,

Women-owned Business Enterprise, and Minority-owned Business Enterprise.

For more information, log on at www.downtowngr.org/our-work/projects/grand-river-network.


Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.