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KENT COUNTY
 










 

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Kent County
 

Although Kent County as a whole is not currently a member of the WMRPC, three cities within the county are long-time members of the Region:  Grand Rapids, Wyoming, and Cedar Springs, which together make up nearly 50 percent of Kent County’s population.  Information about these three communities is presented in the sections below.

 

 

 

County Links and Information


Kent County website

 

All Cities, Villages, and Townships in Kent County

 

Tourism and Economic Development

West Michigan Tourist Association

 

Kent County Demographic Profile

 

Kent County Map

 

Other Kent County Communities

While Kent County is not an active member of the WMRPC, the Region still maintains a positive relationship with all of the cities, villages, and townships within the County and provides a variety of services to each and every community.  If you are a Kent County community and would like to learn more about the WMRPC and regional membership, please contact Dave Bee at 616-774-8400 or dbee@wmrpc.org.

 

Grand Rapids

  

Incorporated in 1850, the City of Grand Rapids is the largest city within Region 8, and the second largest in the state.  The City’s population in 2010 was 188,040, which was a 3.4 percent increase from 1980.  Thirty-five percent of Kent County’s residents live in Grand Rapids. 

 

Grand Rapids is currently experiencing a boom in the healthcare industry.  Construction includes the Women’s Health Center of West Michigan, the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, the Van Andel Institute’s second phase, the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion, and the Michigan Street Medical Towers.  The Michigan State University (MSU) College of Human Medicine also has a new facility on Michigan Street.

 

Grand Rapids is served by many traditional business districts such as Eastown, Cheshire Village, and Boston Square.  These business districts serve as small downtowns for the surrounding neighborhoods, but they also attract people from other areas because of their unique personalities.

 

Grand Rapids is a regional center for the arts and entertainment and offers a variety of high quality theater productions, ballet, opera, symphony, modern performances, art exhibits, and museums.  In October 2007, the Grand Rapids Art Museum moved into its new building on Monroe Center.  The new facility is the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified art museum in the world.  The Wealthy Theatre, which was built in 1911 as a live performance theater, was restored and reopened in 1999 after being closed for more than 25 years.  Today the Theatre serves as a community arts center and as an anchor for the surrounding business district.

 

The Heritage Hill neighborhood, which is located near downtown Grand Rapids, is the largest urban historical district in the United States.  The neighborhood includes over 1,300 homes, which date from 1848 and represent over 60 architectural styles.  Back in 1968, proposed urban renewal projects would have demolished 75 percent of the area’s structures.  A group of concerned residents worked to have the neighborhood placed on the National Register of Historic Places and invoked national preservation legislation to stop the bulldozers.  Not only did this save Heritage Hill, it also set a precedent throughout the U.S. for historic preservation.

 



City of Grand Rapids website

 

Tourism and Economic Development

Experience Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce

 

Annual Event and Major Attractions

Art Prize

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Grand Rapids Art Museum

Heritage Hill Historic District

Grand Rapids Public Museum

 

Wyoming

 

The City of Wyoming, incorporated in 1959, has a motto “City of Vision and Progress”.  Today, Wyoming covers an area of 24.5 square miles and is home to 72,125 residents – a 21.0 percent increase from 1980.  Wyoming’s population is projected to increase to 80,239 by 2030.  Wyoming is estimated to be the 16th largest city in Michigan; it is the second largest city in Region 8.  Residential, commercial, and industrial land uses mix with 17 parks to create an independent and successful community. 

 

Wyoming has the highest industrial tax base in West Michigan, with ten primary types of industries that include manufacturing, retail trades, and wholesale trade.  There are 1,850 total businesses located throughout the city.  The City’s two largest employers are General Motors and the headquarters of Gordon Food Service.

 

The 3.5 mile section of 28th Street (M-11) that extends through Wyoming is home to over 230 businesses and is known as the Wyoming TownCenter.  In 1999, the City formed a Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to develop and promote this area as a downtown.  Since its creation, the DDA has improved the streetscape, created a downtown plan, and worked to improve the public image of the district.  In 2012, the City began the implementation phase of its “Turn on 28th Street” project, which is a community planning process designed to inform and guide the redevelopment of the 28h Street business corridor and includes form-based zoning.

 

In 2007, Metro Health Hospital moved to a 175-acre site in Wyoming located at M-6 (the South Beltline) and Byron Center Avenue.  This development, which is called the Metro Health Village, includes many health related facilities, as well as retail businesses and restaurants.

 

A new Wyoming Public Library was completed in 2002. The library is 48,000 square feet and contains 122,000 volumes.  The City’s new offices were also built in 2002.  Wyoming contains all or portions of six different school districts.  The City also includes numerous parochial and charter schools.  Wyoming provides extensive public recreational facilities with 21 city maintained parks covering about 665 acres. 

 



 

City of Wyoming website

 

Tourism and Economic Development

Downtown Development Authority

Wyoming Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce

 

Annual Event

28th Street Metro Cruise in August


Cedar Springs

 

Cedar Springs, has been a member of the Region since 2005.  The City, which is located 20 miles north of Grand Rapids, is the smallest of Kent County’s nine cities in both land area and population (there are four villages within the county with fewer people).  The community was established in 1856, but did not incorporate as a city until 1959.  The community was named for the natural springs bordered by a cedar grove.  Cedar Springs’ 2010 population was 3,509, which is an increase of nearly 13 percent since 2000 and 35 percent from the 1990 Census. 

 

Cedar Springs is “Red Flannel Town USA” and the City proudly declares that it “gives you a welcome as warm as our red flannels!”  The City forever became linked with red flannels back in 1936, when the whole country was in the midst of the “worst winter in years”.  A feature writer in New York complained that, "Here we are in the midst of an old-fashioned winter and there are no red flannels in the USA to go with it."  The local newspaper responded with a declaration that Cedar Springs merchants do indeed have red flannels, and orders soon started pouring in from all over the country.  By 1939, local residents decided that the City should have a “Red Flannel Day”, which has become a week-long festival every fall.  The annual festivities include a carnival, live music, a parade, and many other fun-filled events. 

 

Cedar Springs has a diverse retail business district and a growing industrial base.  Cedar Springs’ largest employer is Cedar Springs Public Schools.  In 1989 a Downtown Development Authority was created to improve the City’s downtown.

 

The City is served by three public parks.  In addition, the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail runs through Cedar Springs.  This 75-mile long trail runs from Grand Rapids north to Cadillac and passes through many communities along its route.  The portion of the path running through Cedar Springs was paved in 2007.

 

A new public library is planned for the City on donated land.  The current library is 2,000 square feet and contains 20,000 volumes.  Tentative plans for the new library show a building of 7,630 square feet with room for later additions to the building.  In 2012, the New Library Fund Raising campaign is busily working on a variety of fundraising activities in an effort to match a generous philanthropic offer up to $50,000 in community funds raised by the end of the year.  As of mid-2012, over $450,000 had been raised toward the library’s $2,000,000 goal.

 

 


City of Cedar Springs website

 

Tourism and Economic Development

Downtown Development Authority

 

Annual Event

Red Flannel Festival in October