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My Town: Grand Rapids among 2014 America's Most Affordable Cities

My Town: Grand Rapids among 2014 America's Most Affordable Cities

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Grand Rapids is adding another honor to its list of titles.

The city has made it onto Forbes Magazine’s list of America’s Most Affordable Cities for 2014.  Grand Rapids ranked seventh on the list, based on population (774,160 people), the Housing Opportunity Index ( 85.1) , which measures housing affordability, and a cost-of-living index (97.6), which factors in food, utilities, gas, transportation, medical expenses and other daily costs. Cities with an index number below 100 are below the national cost-of-living average.

Buffalo, NY took the top spot.  Warren, MI ranked 10, and Detroit tied with Toledo, OH for 11th place.

My Town: Public invited to discuss future of Kent County highways

My Town: Public invited to discuss future of Kent County highways

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—The Michigan Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting next week to detail the work needed on U.S. 131 and I-96 in Kent County over the next 20 years.

MDOT says community members will play an important role in the project decisions, from concept to completion.  People are encouraged to bring concerns and ideas to the open house-format meeting on Thursday, March 6, from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.  The meeting will take place at the Rockford Construction Community Center, located at 601 First St. NW in Grand Rapids.

MDOT is currently studying preservation and improvement options for U.S. 131 between 100th Street and M-57 and I-96 between Fruit Ridge Avenue and Leonard Street.

For those who cannot make Thursday’s meeting, MDOT will hold a second forum Wednesday, March 12, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Walker Fire station at 1470 3 Mile Road NW.  

Disability Advocates of Kent County hold bus stop clearing contest

Disability Advocates of Kent County hold bus stop clearing contest

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The higher temperatures and rain will likely not rid West Michigan of all of its snow, which is why the Disability Advocates of Kent County is inviting all shovelers to take part in a contest.

The organization is asking everyone to help dig out bus stops in the Grand Rapids metro area, which are buried under snow.  While many people can climb over the snow banks to get on buses, people with disabilities cannot.

People who dig out a bus stop are asked to take a before and after picture and email them to Aric Coleman at aric.c@dakc.us , along with the location of the bus stop.  The Disability Advocates of Kent County will post the pictures on its Facebook Page to recognize your efforts.  Members of the group that clears the most stops by Feb.

New bike path to cut through Grand Rapids

New bike path to cut through Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A new bike path will soon take shape in Grand Rapids.

The city is getting a $618,514 grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation to create the Seward Avenue Bikeway.  The 3.5 mile bike route will cut through the heart of Grand Rapids and connect nearly 190 miles of regional trails, including the White Pine Trail, Oxford Street Trail and Kent Trails. The path will run along Seward Avenue from Wealthy Street to the Riverside Park trailhead and include a bike shelter, bike lockers, bike signs and signals and an upgraded pedestrian bridge over Indian Mill Creek at Broadway Avenue.

The project is expected to cost just over $1 million.  Additional funding will come from the City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Bikes Belong and Freewheeler Bike Shop.  The city commission will recognize all financial supporters during its meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.    

East Grand Rapids to join group setting ambulance standards

East Grand Rapids to join group setting ambulance standards

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The standards for ambulances running in East Grand Rapids may soon change.

During its regular meeting Monday night, the city commission approved joining an ambulance consortium with other Kent County communities.  The consortium would establish across-the-board ambulance service standards for all communities involved, through contracts. East Grand Rapids currently works with AMR Ambulance, but the city does not have a contract with the company. 

City Manager Brian Donovan says communities that are part of the consortium will create an oversight group which will make sure all ambulance companies are abiding by contractual standards. By consolidating regulation, each community will save staff time and money.

'Laker Line' study will explore options to meet transportation demand between G.R. and GVSU

'Laker Line' study will explore options to meet transportation demand between G.R. and GVSU

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- The RAPID transit agency will publicly launch the Laker Line Study to identify the top public transportation solution to connect downtown Grand Rapids, the West Side, Standale, and the main campus of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, the region’s largest educational institution.

The project kicks off with a series of public meetings on Thursday, November 21.