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Destination Asset Study

Grand Rapids, Michigan


Top Level Findings:

Convention Center & Hotel Opportunities

  • Convention center expansion considered for mid-term priority.
  • Hotel development with group room block considered in near-term.
  • Feasibility study needed to determine project size, potential future business opportunities and correlation between center space and hotel room requirements.
Collaborative Partners:

Convention & Arena Authority (CAA), Grand Action, Experience Grand Rapids, City of Grand Rapids, and Kent County

Attracting Professional Sports

  • USL Soccer offers potential opportunity to further penetrate the professional sports market.
Collaborative Partners:

Local Investment Group, Grand Action, Experience Grand Rapids, and the West Michigan Sports Commission

Enhancing Amateur Sports Offerings

  • Consideration for development of field sport complex.
  • Recommended complex of 12 – 20 multi-sport fields with lighting and parking.
Collaborative Partners:

West Michigan Sports Commission, Experience Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Parks & Recreation, and Kent County Parks

Leveraging the Grand River

  • River experience in Grand Rapids can become the focal point for visitors.
  • Restoration of river should be aggressively supported and pursued by public sector, foundations and private sector.
  • Facilitate convenient visitor access including consideration for River Destination Center.
  • Facilitate convenient visitor access and amenities north of downtown.
Collaborative Partners:

Grand Rapids Whitewater, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., City of Grand Rapids, Grand Action, Experience Grand Rapids, and The Right Place, Inc.

Outdoor & Adventure Opportunities

  • Establish a first class interconnected trail system.
  • Develop visitor-friendly set of trail heads.
  • Develop unified marketing and mapping for outdoor adventures.
Collaborative Partners:

Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc., Grand Rapids Parks & Recreation, Kent County Parks and Experience Grand Rapids.

Downtown Transportation for Visitor

  • Evaluate recent changes to DASH and Silver Line.
  • Consider distinct visitor circulator route.
  • Convenient transportation for visitor river access north of downtown.
Collaborative Partners:

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Mobile GR and Parking Department, The Rapid and Grand Action.

Destination Awareness, Inclusion and Diversity

  • Consider measuring destination awareness and perceived strengths and weaknesses among potential future visitors.
  • Marketing efforts expanded to provide emphasis on current and future outdoor recreational assets.
  • Consider leveraging local authentic stories focusing on neighborhoods and experiences unique to Grand Rapids.
  • Community efforts to support the advancement of minority youth in hospitality industry.
  • Support for recruiting and training to grow a more diverse hospitality workforce.