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Major development coming to Roosevelt Park neighborhood

A southwest side neighborhood in Grand Rapids is undergoing a major facelift as community partners announced plans on Monday morning to revitalize historic Roosevelt Park. 

After over 2 years of planning, eight community partners held a joint press conference Monday to provide details into the proposed Plaza Roosevelt Development. Running from the east side of Grandville Avenue between Graham and Franklin streets, the nearly 6 acre development will include a new Southwest Community Campus High School, new preschool classes, healthcare services, a community center and affordable and rental housing.

“This is going to have a huge impact," John Helmholdt, the Grand Rapids Public Schools Executive Director of Communications and External Affairs said. "It’s going to be done based on the input of the residents, this is their development, Plaza Roosevelt belongs to this neighborhood.”

Helmholdt said in a time of political division in the country, the Roosevelt Development speaks to the character of the city in its ability to cooperate for the greater good.

“That’s the beauty of Grand Rapids, this partnership really exemplifies what we do in Grand Rapids," he said. "We come together, we partner, we put aside our differences—8 people all signing a letter of intent, agreeing to come together on a 5.5. Acre mixed use development that is pretty rare, that is hard to get all those cats herded, and yet here we are announcing it after almost two years of work.”

One of the eight partners in the Plaza Roosevelt Development is the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan. Executive Director Roberto Torres said he believes the project will have the greatest effect in the Latino community.

“I think what you have is what I call, capturing the history of this community, this is a predominantly Latino community," Torres said. "With the growth of Latinos in this community, we have an opportunity to be able to capture that and turn that into economic gain and economic return for Grand Rapids.”

While the official price tag for the development is not yet known, Grand Rapids Public Schools will be investing $20 million in the new high school and community spaces.

In addition to the Hispanic Center of West Michigan, other partners involved in the Plaza Roosevelt Development include Ferris State University, Habitat for Humanity Kent County, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, Grand Rapids Public Schools and Dwelling Place.

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