Street Talk

Street Talk: A river runs through it

For the kids.

April 19, 2019
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The city of Grand Rapids is partnering with Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids Whitewater and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. to host an open house for companies interested in learning more about business opportunities associated with the Grand River restoration project.

The event is set for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. May 2 at the Grand Rapids Community College Tassell M-TEC, 622 Godfrey Ave. SW. The open house is geared toward businesses that provide such services as landscaping, tree removal, trucking and information technology, among others. Staff from the city’s Diversity and Inclusion Office and Planning and Engineering departments, as well as representatives from GRCC, GRWW and DGRI, will be on hand to provide information and answer questions.

The event will educate contractors on what they need to do to be eligible for river work and provide opportunities for them to become registered with the city. The open house is free and includes lunch.

“This is a great opportunity for businesses to learn about the bid opportunities associated with the river restoration and future work along the river corridor,” said Alvin Hills IV, the city’s business developer. “It’s part of an ongoing series over the next few years as we work to make sure our community is aware of the business and workforce development opportunities available during each phase of the river project.”

The first construction phase is expected to begin in spring 2021 and includes work in the river from Bridge Street downstream to Fulton Street. The primary needs during this phase include the removal of four dams; restructuring of the river channel through excavation and importing of boulders, cobble and gravel substrate and the installation of additional scour protection on existing bridge structures; five recreational features; and shoreline access.

The city and GRCC are partnering to help businesses find qualified workers through M-Tec’s technical training programs.

“GRCC's Tassell M-TEC is honored to host the business community and project partners for this open house,” said Julie Parks, executive director of GRCC’s workforce training. “We view the river project as an important initiative to the continued economic growth and success for our region. GRCC continues to be responsive to employer and community needs through our partnerships, training and educational offerings that will strengthen the local workforce for this project and those in the future.”

Grand Rapids Whitewater President and CEO Steve Heacock added: “The restoration of the Grand River will spur growth and success for the region for many years to come. The immediate economic benefit will be the restoration project itself. Moving and placing thousands of tons of rock and material will require the efforts of many. Given that this is the community’s river and the community’s restoration project, the restoration work needs to include and fully reflect our entire community.”

For more information, email inclusion@grcity.us.

New to you

A program designed to help current and new Grand Rapidians better understand and participate in local government is back for a third installment.

OurCity Academy, a partnership between the city of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Public Schools and LINC Up, is kicking off its third series April 30.

Session topics will include city government values and goals, state of the city’s children, neighborhood services and resources, and public safety.

“It is important that residents understand the city’s structures and policies,” said LaKiya Jenkins, director of operations at LINC Up. “Participating in OurCity Academy will better equip them to be actively engaged at the local level.”

The four-session series will take place 5-6 p.m. April 30, May 14, May 21 and June 4. All classes will be held on the second floor of LINC Up, 1167 Madison Ave. SE. Dinner will be served.

For the final three sessions, LINC Up will provide transportation to the 7 p.m. City Commission meetings at City Hall.

“We’re pleased to celebrate our third year of OurCity Academy,” said Lynn Heemstra, executive director of Our Community’s Children and OurCity Academy coordinator. “This program empowers current and new residents to understand and participate in the democratic process and learn about services available to all members of the community.”

Register for the free event at grandrapidsmi.gov.

Same book, new look

A pair of brand experts have released the second edition of their popular 2010 book.

Kevin Budelmann and Yang Kim, the husband-and-wife co-owners of Peopledesign in Grand Rapids, have upgraded their advice for brand builders in their new book, “Brand Identity Essentials, Revised and Expanded: 100 Principles for Building Brands” (The Quarto Group, 2019), which is now available for sale.

“Making a great brand is easier said than done, and brand builders often lack the structure and approach to improve,” Budelmann said.

In the second edition, Budelmann and Kim define the tools and building blocks of brand building, illustrating the construction of strong brands through “examples of world-class design.”

The first edition of the book is available in six languages and featured digital and paperback editions.

This second edition is “a major revision” of the first, featuring hundreds of new images and content, including work from design leaders such as Alan Cooper, Artefact, Brian Collins, Design Army, Multiple, Pentagram and many others.

“The new version is even more visual and features fresh new work from some of our friends, peers and heroes,” Kim said.

The book also includes useful reference materials such as the Brand Identity Framework — a “one-stop chart for connecting design elements to strategic branding concepts” — a Brand Fundamentals course curriculum for design educators and brand audit checklists for brand managers.

Step by step

The Kent County board of commissioners will vote April 25 to approve the allocations for the six-year Ready by 5 millage.

The agreement more specifically outlines how First Steps Kent — the nonprofit that spearheaded the millage campaign approved by voters in November — will use the $5.7 million levied in the first year.

As previously stated, millage funds will be allocated in the categories of navigation and outreach, healthy development, early learning and parent education, which the agreement said is based on the best data available to date, and it may be adjusted in the future.

The first year of funding will be awarded in two RFP rounds, the first focusing on navigation and outreach, and the second focused on healthy child development.

Service providers will be required to solicit voluntary donations from families enrolled in the programs funded by the millage. The donations must be used for services.

Providers with universal eligibility will be encouraged to have a cost-share component. Families with incomes below the 200% federal poverty level would be exempt from cost-sharing but would be encouraged to donate.

Each year, a portion of funds will be set aside as reserves for unexpected financial obligations.

Additional funds will be used toward First Steps Kent’s administration costs, including salaries, administration costs and consultants.

Impact of the funded services will be shared with the community, First Steps said.

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