Rosalynn Bliss

Courtesy office of Mayor Bliss

During her 3rd State of the City Address last week Grand Rapids mayor Rosalynn Bliss turned her attention to public safety. In the aftermath of what she called “critical incidents involving youth” and the profiling minority motorists, the mayor is seeking solutions for improving relations between the Grand Rapids Police Department and the diverse communities it serves.

"We must be a community of trust, safety, fairness, respect and security for all.”

Over 130 mayors across the United States have launched a new campaign that aims to provide every resident a public park or green space within a 10 minute walk from their home. Included in that group of mayors is Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. 

“When you look at our city as a whole, and where we need green space and parks, what we find is that we need them in our poorest neighborhoods," Bliss said. "As we look at being environmentally sustainable, we also want to be thinking about environmental justice.”

Habitat Kent twitter

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and the Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Board joined Habitat for Humanity of Kent County Friday to build affordable housing on the city’s West Side. Before the build, Mayor Bliss said she and the Mayor’s Millenial Advisory Board were committed to giving back to the community as part of Grand Rapids’ participation in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Cities of Service initiative. It’s a grant given to cities all over the country to be used in areas of pressing need. For Grand Rapids, that means affordable housing.

Grand Rapids City Commission Report

Jul 12, 2017

After a month hiatus, the Grand Rapids City Commission re-convened this week to vote on a number of proposals, as commissioners first approved a millage renewal on next November’s ballot that will continue funding for the public library. Kent County voters first approved the 20-year millage in 1997 to help pay for renovations to the main branch downtown, as well as build three new library’s across the city. Library officials say the next 20 years will cover operations costs and improve early learning programs.

  Mayor Rosalynn Bliss wants to start an education program for immigrants who move to Grand Rapids. Bliss announced her plan during Thursday's State of the City address.

Bliss told reporters that Grand Rapids needs "to provide a safe place for people to come together to not only learn how to connect with local government, but how to receive services and also how to get engaged."

She hopes to launch the program within the next two months.

Progressive AE

Grand Rapids’ Michigan Street corridor continues its eastbound development expansion with the groundbreaking of a $42 million mixed-use project.

“Ready? One…two…three…”

With that Grand Rapids city leaders and Diamond Place project partners with shovels in hand broke ground on 2.8 acres at the corner of Diamond and Michigan Streets. It’s where the old Proos Manufacturing facility once stood.

LINC mixed-use development in Southeast Grand Rapids.

Creating a housing advisory committee to deal with what commissioners are calling a housing crisis is one of four concrete strategies set by the Grand Rapids City Commission. First Ward Commissioner Jon O’Connor is likely to become one of the commissioners appointed to that committee.

“People’s incomes haven’t kept pace with the cost of housing and so we know that we have a limited pool of resources in the city which we hope to allocate to address some of these concerns to give people an opportunity to stay in their neighborhood and in the city.”

Ludovic Bertron | Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 /

Police in western Michigan plan a more visible presence for the upcoming Grand Rapids Pride Festival following last weekend's massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

The Grand Rapids Press reports the city's police department will increase patrols and put a mobile command center near Saturday's festival street fair, which takes place on and around downtown's Calder Plaza.

A block party is planned on Sunday.

Police department spokesman Terry Dixon says people will see "a considerable police presence compared to last year" as a precaution. |

Two west Michigan leaders are among members of a new state board tackling lead poisoning.

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and Paul Haan, executive director of the Health Homes Coalition of West Michigan, were appointed to the new Child Lead Poisoning Elimination Board by Governor Rick Snyder on Friday.

Other members include Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, director of pediatric residency at Hurley Medical Center in Flint and a well-known advocate during the Flint contamination crisis.

Lt. Governor Brian Calley was appointed board chair.

Mariano Avila / WGVU

The United Farm Workers and the Bill of rights Defense Committee sent Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss scathing letters over police investigation of demonstrators and student activists. 

The language is strong critiquing, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss for “using city police to intimidate student activists and supporting union busting.”

Students staged a sit-in on behalf of unionized employees of The Rapid during negotiations back in January. On March 18th, police called and went to the houses of those involved.