Grand Rapids removes 4 social district areas from downtown

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – The popular social neighborhoods of Grand Rapids are disappearing after the city decided to eliminate four from the downtown area.

The city incorporated seven social neighborhood zones at the height of the pandemic. The zones have given around sixty companies the opportunity to sell alcoholic beverages in these zones.

“So that was really a godsend for us because it doesn’t take a lot to serve everywhere and everyone on the sidewalk,” Tony Kisscorni told FOX 17.

These areas allowed Stella to serve people so that they could eat and drink outside.

“They would go inside and have a special cup… and come out here and sit here with no problem,” Kisscorni said.

Now the commissioners have decided to remove Ah-Nab-Awen Park, DeVos Place, Calder Plaza and Rosa Parks Circle from the list.

City of Grand Rapids

“So excluding these four areas from the downtown core helps make these events viable,” said Grand Rapids Chief of Staff Lou Canfield.

He says events have resumed, adding that the Michigan Liquor Control Commission cited that the now-eliminated areas were preventing the events from selling alcohol there, which this change will now correct.

“A big part of that is activating downtown, and Grand Rapids is and aspires to be even more of a four-season outdoor city, and of course, having people able to attend a special event or having an alfresco drink in a social neighborhood is part of that, ”Canfield said.

Meanwhile, Stella’s can still continue to sell in its downtown area.

They have plans underway to prepare the area around the restaurant for winter.

“I think this week or next week we’re going to put the patio back in place with heaters,” Kisscorni said.

There is a house bill this would eliminate conflicts with events and social areas. The city said it would consider re-adding some or all of the four locations in the downtown social district.

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