Arts & Entertainment, Economic Development, and Nonprofits

LINC celebrates Southtown at Rock the Block 2013

June 14, 2013
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LINC celebrates Southtown at Rock the Block 2013
LINC Community Revitalization’s Rock the Block Street Fair in Grand Rapids’ Southtown neighborhood draws thousands of attendees. Courtesy LINC

Imagine if neighborhood revitalization looked like a block party.

This is exactly the plan for LINC Community Revitalization’s third annual Rock the Block Street Fair tomorrow.

The event will feature nonprofit organizations, community resources, a job fair, giveaways, health screenings, local food, family activities for children of all ages and live entertainment and will run from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., on Madison Avenue between Hall and Gilbert Streets.

About 4,000 people are expected to attend, making it LINC’s largest street fair to date.

The event is important to the Southtown neighborhood revitalization, because it brings opportunity right into the neighborhood itself, allowing residents to see change happening right before their eyes.

“As humans we don’t always look for help,” said JeRae Wise, LINC neighborhood services project assistant. “Now we’re bringing it right there to the neighborhood.”

The event, which costs about $10,000-$12,000 to put on, is supported by sponsors and vendors, who each pay $50 for booth space, Wise said.

“This year’s fair will convene 70 to 80 different nonprofit organizations, including health care providers, businesses, colleges and universities, and we will display our partnerships alongside Madison and Hall,” wrote LINC Economic Development Director Jorge Gonzalez in a letter to LINC’s community partners.

“LINC is partnering with local Chambers of Commerce, Grand Rapids Community College and many other organizations to make this event a success," he wrote. "This annual event is a celebration, and it provides a forum for local organizations and businesses within the city of Grand Rapids to present and promote themselves and their services to residents.”

Job interviews

Wise said this year’s theme focuses on education and job growth.

Manpower and Spartan Stores are planning to conduct job interviews at LINC’s headquarters, at1167 Madison Ave. SE, which is something new to this year’s fair, she said.

“This event not only gives this community an occasion to gather together and celebrate the many transformations happening in the area, but it also provides an opportunity for local businesses, companies, schools, colleges and other entities to share their resources with residents,” said Darel Ross, co-executive director of LINC. “We are more than happy to facilitate that.”

More than 3,000 residents and 50 business, educational and nonprofit entities attended last year’s Rock the Block event, Wise said. 

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