Grand Rapids is a great place to live - but there's always room for improvement, right?

The City of Grand Rapids is asking what changes residents would like to see, from library improvements, to programs that provide safe and affordable childcare, support victims of domestic violence, educate students in broadcast media, and more.

How do you think City funds should be spent?

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Committee Seeks Input From Grand Rapids Residents on Improvement Projects

After getting input from the community, the Participatory Budgeting Grand Rapids Steering Committee has unveiled the final 27 projects that are up for public vote September 30 through October 5, 2022.

Your vote will help determine which improvement projects will be forwarded to the City Commission for funding approval.

The proposed projects will be funded through the graduated dispersal of $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act  funds across Grand Rapids' three wards.

The City says,

This graduated dispersal allows for investment based in part on the distribution of demographic and economic factors to help address historical disparities across the wards.


The breakdown of the distribution of funds is:

  • First Ward - $600,000
  • Second Ward -$400,000
  • Third Ward - $1 million

You can find out which ward your address is in here.

How to Vote For City of Grand Rapids Projects Up For Budget Approval

Once you review the 27 projects below, there are multiple ways to vote.

So what projects are on the table?

27 Projects Up For Public Vote For Funding in Grand Rapids

Here are the projects up for public vote by ward and with the estimated cost of each.


Madison Square Library Upgrades – $250,000

Funding for improvements to the interior and exterior of the Madison Square Library branch.

Lead Line Removal for 3rd Ward – $500,000

Funding for removal of lead lines directly from homes in the 3rd Ward. Funding will expedite the “Lead Service Line Replacement Program” currently in place.

Community Based Violence Reduction Initiative – $250,000

Funding to pilot a community based public safety violence reduction initiative in the 3rd Ward.

City Policy & Equity Practice Review – $336,000

Funding to hire diverse individuals from Grand Rapids communities experiencing the worst of inequities to oversee/review the racial disparities in policies and advise changes that are needed.

Neighborhood/Community Building Grants – $200,000

Funding to provide grants for community building projects carried out by resident led-groups. Funding will increase the “Neighborhood Match Fund” currently in place.

Broadcast Media Academy – $120,000

Funding will support the creation and administration of a program to educate middle school students interested in digital media, radio, TV, and cinematography.

BIPOC Entrepreneurial Support Grants – $100,000

Funding will create a pilot program centered on supporting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) owned businesses and BIPOC commercial property owners within the 3rd Ward that have been distressed and marginalized.

Affordable Quality Childcare – $150,000

Funding will create a pilot program for safe, certified childcare providers to offer second and third shift programming for families residing in Ward 3.

Youth Affordable Housing Support – $145,000

Funding to create a pilot program centered on creating safe spaces for youth in crisis.

MLK Park Lodge Construction – $100,000

Additional funding to support existing construction plans at the lodge in MLK Park.



Youth Media Training Program – $200,000

Funds will support the creation and administration of a media and video production course targeted at middle and high school youth.

Mental Health Community First Responder – $350,000

Funding to administer a program for the public based on teaching first aid, mental health crisis response, coordination with first responders, and de-escalation that will decrease unnecessary police interactions.

Cure Violence (Ward 2) – $250,000

Funding to expand Cure Violence to two locations within Ward 2. Cure Violence is an evidence based model of violence prevention relying on trusted members from the community, known as violence interrupters, who work to build relationships – often acting as mediators – to stop violence before it occurs.

The Community Pantry – $150,000

Funding to cover the cost to build (i.e., hardware, labor), administer, and maintain an outdoor refrigerator, pantry, and microwave, accessible 24/7 to those experiencing hunger.

The Human Library – $100,000

Funding to create a pilot program centered on creating spaces for community conversations with the goal of supporting mental health awareness through community building.

Palmer Elementary Reading & Arts Initiative – $50,000

Funding to acquire culturally relevant books, art and performances at this multicultural school, designated a "cultural center" by GRPS.

Accessory Dwelling (ADU) Planning Guide – $50,000

Funding to develop a guide and a variety of pre-approved plans for those interested in building an accessory dwelling unit on their property.

Lower Elementary Reading Initiative – $75,000

Funding to create a pilot program matching reading tutors/mentors with K-2 students in the Second Ward.


Cleaning Up GR Proposal – $75,000

Funding part-time positions at the City of Grand Rapids to clean and beautify high-traffic corridors in Ward 1.

Affordable Quality Childcare – $150,000

Funding will create a pilot program for safe, certified childcare providers to offer second and third shift programming for families residing in Ward 1.

Citizens Advocacy Skills Academy – $100,000

Funding to create a pilot program centered on civic engagement education.

Plaster Creek Mural Project – $55,000

Funding to help clean up Plaster Creek & create a mural to beautify a city trail.

Community Reading Initiative for Violence Reduction – $50,000

Funding for a reading program aimed at preventing violence and promoting healthy communities amongst youth.

Supporting Victims of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking – $100,000

Funding to create a pilot program offering support services to victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

The STEAM Employment Opportunities Project – $200,000

Funding to create a pilot program to expose more adults and young adults to employment opportunities within STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) based profession

Youth Affordable Housing Support – $145,000

Funding to create a pilot program to house youth that is centered on creating safety, connection, and stability for youth in crisis.

South Division Greenscaping and Beautification Grants – $250,000

Funding to offer competitive grants for greenscaping and beautification of businesses and non-profits in the South Division corridor, specifically between Fulton and 28th Street in the First Ward.

Outdoor Games, Gear, and Equipment You Can Rent for FREE From Grand Rapids Gear Library

Grand Rapid Parks and Recreation recently added skateboards to the Thrive Outside Gear Library. Did you know about all the cool stuff you can rent for free? Just about anything you'd need for a camping trip you'll find in the Gear Library at Roosevelt Park Gym, plus team sports equipment, clothing, picnic supplies, even gear for cold weather activities too! The Gear Library is located at the gym at Roosevelt Park at 739 Van Raalte Dr. SW in Grand Rapids. The library is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm. 

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