Plaza Roosevelt: A Community Collaboration

Dwelling Place participated in a press conference on Friday, August 30, announcing the site plan for Plaza Roosevelt. A collaboration between Habitat for Humanity, Dwelling Place, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Mercy Health, the Hispanic Center of West Michigan, Ferris State University, and the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association, Plaza Roosevelt is a neighbor-driven development initiative along Grandville Avenue and Franklin Street in Grand Rapids. The 5.5-acre site will be developed with a new high school, expanded medical services, commercial space, affordable homeowners and rental opportunities.

After months of charrettes, neighborhood input and design meetings, the site plan was ready to be publicly announced. Representatives from each of the organizations came to speak at the former St. Joseph the Worker parish.

Dwelling Place CEO Dennis Sturtevant spoke briefly about the initiative and Dwelling Place’s role in it. This is what he wrote:

“Imagine a canvas woven from the history of many generations and a pallet of many colors with which to paint on that canvas. Now imagine being invited to join artists from across the neighborhood and the community to create a piece of art that will inspire everyone who experiences it for generations to come.

That is how Dwelling Place sees this opportunity in Plaza Roosevelt. Our part in this extraordinary initiative is to contribute what we do best; that is the creation of affordable rental housing and commercial spaces that will serve the needs of the neighborhood for many years to come. We are truly inspired by the extent of community engagement that has been a hallmark in this development process. Our part in this plan should result in the creation of:

  • 45 two and three bedroom apartments for rent; affordable to households with incomes under $40,000 per year, and

  • First floor commercial space that could be used for retail, institutional and/or office uses that meet needs identified by the neighborhood.

We are presently working to secure financing for two buildings; one located on Grandville Avenue and the second located on Franklin Street; each of which could accommodate approximately 23 to 26 apartment units. Our design process for these buildings will integrate neighborhood participation through our Community Beneficiary process, inviting several neighborhood representatives to serve on our Design Committee.

I can think of no better way for us to address the affordable housing needs of this community than through the kind of collaborations that Plaza Roosevelt represents. Integrating housing with health care, education, art and economic development helps to ensure that neighborhood revitalization is truly comprehensive; creating opportunities for future growth while leaving no one behind.”

Read more about Plaza Roosevelt and the site plan here.