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State investment in City of Grand Rapids projects by celebrated by local and state officials

Melorie Begay

State lawmakers joined Grand Rapids city officials, Friday, to celebrate recent state investments that will fund several city projects.

Gathering outside the soon to be demolished Martin Luther King Park lodge Michigan Sen. Majority Leader Winnie Brinks, State Rep. Kristan Grant, and Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss commended the state’s investment in the park.

The city received $6 million to rebuild the facility as part of the state’s “Make It in Michigan” budget. The city says the new multi-use lodge will be accessible for all ages and abilities, open year round, safe, energy efficient and affordable for public use.

State Rep. Grant, a Democrat, said she’s excited about the updates and that urban communities are finally starting to see equitable investments from the state.

“To me, it was really important that a Democratic Majority looked like investment in the places that have been neglected for a very long time," she said. "Let people know things are different, we see you. There are some neighborhoods that have been holding on for so long and this is one of them.”

Grant adds it’s also important to show people that these investments aren’t meant to inspire gentrification but rather keep people from wanting to leave their communities.

Sen. Brinks echoed Grant about the significance of ensuring equitable investments.

"That's a new approach," Brinks said. "I've been in the legislature for 10 years and we have seen so many communities, specifically communities of colors and communities experiencing high levels of poverty being completely ignored."

She said it's an amazing opportunity to be able to listen to the community and accomplish their needs, including the rebuilding of the lodge. Brinks attributes investments like these to Democratic leadership at the capitol and the diverse caucuses leading each chamber.

The city of Grand Rapids received more than $90 million from the state budget for capital and community projects from the state budget.

This includes $35 million for the construction and development of two fire stations.

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