CIA and BID Annual Roundtable Event

Published on November 21, 2022


Grand Rapids, Mich- The fall 2022 Corridor Improvement Authority (CIA) and Business Improvement District (BID) roundtable was held at the 1350 Madison event center on October 25, 2022.

The annual CIA-BID Roundtable is an event organized by the Economic Development Department to create a common platform for all CIA and BID board members to share updates and success stories and more importantly, learn from each other. This year, the event reports highlighted unique ways each board is making a difference by listening and responding to the needs of their communities.

The event had about 30 attendees comprised of CIA and BID board members and the city of Grand Rapids staff and saw presentations from the Economic Development Department, CIA and BID boards, and the Engineering and Planning Departments.

Jeremiah Gracia, Director of the Economic Development Department began by providing an overview of the department and reminded the attendees that the department is dedicated to empowering and encouraging the boards to make the changes they want to see in the communities. He highlighted the 2021 annual reports and applauded the boards for their investments which were well over $700,000.

The North Quarter CIA has a new corridor management partnership with the Creston Neighborhood Association (CNA). Corridor management used to be the biggest challenge for the North Quarter board until both organizations realized they have needs that intersect. They also highlighted other projects they have ongoing such as the Bio-Retention Island, the Façade Improvement Program, etc. They are especially excited about their upcoming holiday event titled Lights on Creston. You can read more about it on their website here.

Southtown CIA has the biggest façade program among all the CIAs. They have made several updates to their program guidelines based on the needs of the businesses in their corridor. Their program now allows for up to two grants per property and no longer requires a match. Their presentation focused on the changes in their program while highlighting the improvements that have been made to some of the businesses in the corridor.

The city of Grand Rapids currently has one BID, the Uptown BID. The revenues collected from the BID assessments have been used to supplement the CIA revenues to support maintenance projects within the corridor. The Uptown presentation focused on the BID operations and highlighted some projects that are currently being funded through the Uptown BID. Uptown Inc. is a non-profit that is responsible for providing strategic leadership for the Uptown CIA and BID through an agreement with the city.

Michigan Street CIA is a unique corridor, and the board has been very successful at leveraging its uniqueness and using that to make investments in businesses in the corridor. Their presentation highlighted Michigan Street Poutine Week, a food festival that was mainly organized to encourage walkability in the corridor, slow down traffic, and overall, bring people to the corridor to benefit businesses. This event received great success and brought visibility to the Michigan Street CIA.

South Division Grandville CIA adopted a new corridor management model to prioritize their business associations. This new model leverages CIA resources by bringing in additional stakeholders with neighborhood-level ideas and expertise that will be beneficial to the corridor. The SDG CIA presentation noted the three ways they are currently supporting their business associations. First, they have a Memorandum of Understanding that provides $8,000 in support funds to their business associations for general operations. Second, they have hired managers for each business association to provide administrative, member engagement, and event management support to the business associations. Finally, they have allocated $7,000 in event support funds for each business association to organize events within their districts.

The Engineering Department talked about construction projects involving public roads, City-owned utilities, and City-owned facilities. Juan Torres, Community Engagement Coordinator used this opportunity to also update the attendees on the current community engagement efforts used by the department for short and long-term projects.

The Planning Department provided an update on the community Master planning process. The Community Master plan is a process used to build community consensus, define a long-range vision for the future, and address essential topics like population, housing, transportation, etc. According to Layla Aslani, Planning Department Project Manager, the preplanning phase has been completed and a consultant team has been selected to lead the community input phase.

The Economic Development is very pleased with this year's event, especially, the CIA and BID board members’ participation. The updates and presentations received from the various boards are proof of their dedication and commitment to the well-being of their communities.

See the full presentation from the event here(PDF, 15MB).