Heartwell Is To Take DDA Seat

September 26, 2003
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GRAND RAPIDS — Mayor-elect George Heartwell told the Business Journal last week that he will sit on fewer boards than Mayor John Logie does, and that he hasn’t made up his mind on all the boards he will serve on.

But one on which he will definitely take a seat is the Downtown Development Authority, which is responsible for maintaining and developing the central business district. Logie is the city’s current representative on the DDA.

Two other board seats that the former 3rd Ward commissioner confirmed he would occupy are on the Grand Valley Metro Council and the Interurban Transit Partnership. But Heartwell added that he would not hold the ITP chairmanship post. He chaired the transit association when it evolved from the Grand Rapids Area Transit Authority into the ITP, which is funded by six cities.

The current mayor also has a seat on the Metro Council and the ITP.

Heartwell, who plans to sit on about half a dozen boards and delegate commissioners to other groups that have seats for city representatives, said he hadn’t decided whether to seek a seat on the Convention and Arena Authority. The CAA owns DeVos Place and Van Andel Arena, and funds from the DDA are paying for the arena bond package. Logie chairs the CAA.

Heartwell won 84 percent of the mayoral primary votes cast on Sept. 9, which allowed him to bypass the November election. Instead of having to campaign for a general election, he said he is using that additional time to put the final touches on his plans for the city.

Heartwell ran on a platform to improve public education in the city and economic development in the region. He supports passage of the countywide special education millage coming up in February, and he feels that biotech, communications and alternative energy are three industries that would be a good fit for the city.

Heartwell takes office in January.

The mayor-elect teaches undergraduates in the Aquinas College Community Leadership program and directs the school’s Community Leadership Institute. Heartwell served two terms as a 3rd Ward commissioner, representing the city’s southeast side from 1992-2000.           

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