Focus Area 1 includes the area of just south of Wealthy, the traditional edge of Downtown Grand Rapids. It currently contains several new and planned projects, including the large mixed-use Tapestry Square project and the Downtown Market. In addition, the area contains several important community services including the Grand Rapids University Preparatory Academy, the Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple and Zen Center and City Life Church. Of all the Focus Areas, this portion of the community is experiencing the highest degree of change as reinvestment from Downtown spreads southward. Focus Area 1 is envisioned as an area well connected to Downtown with spaces for small local entrepreneurs and workforce development within a mix of renovated and new buildings.
The Division and Wealthy Focus Area could accommodate housing on vacant and underutilized sites. As additional residential development occurs, it will be critical to designate space for parks and recreation. The Plan recommends the creation of a small neighborhood park or community garden. A grocery store is highly desired in this area to serve both existing and new residents, and should be pursued as part of larger redevelopment plans.
Additional desired elements include fostering ongoing neighborhood cleanup efforts, as well as the improvement of landscape and pedestrian connections, the incorporation of public art on new and existing buildings should be encouraged to reflect the rich culture of the neighborhood. Renovated and new buildings could include needed uses including business incubator space and a job training center. A financial institution and a pharmacy are highly desired by local residents and could be incorporated within new developments in this area. Public improvements should focus on improving safety through new crosswalks and the painting of the Silver Line bus lanes while also promoting positive community identity through neighborhood banners, and signage and wayfinding.