West Leonard Downtown District
415 Leonard Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 451-0150


Area Specific Plan

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Mobile Watch



Meeting Minutes

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Welcome West


West Grand Downtown District Meeting

January 18, 2011
Meeting Minutes
Mercantile Bank, 310 Leonard Street, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Current Board Members
Board officers: Present
Johnny Brann – President, Brann’s Steakhouse & Grille
Sue McKey – Vice President, The Shade Shop
Mark Alcock – Treasurer, Mercantile Bank
Jane Grischke – Secretary, Community Organizer West Grand Neighborhood Organization

Board Members: Present
Absent - Dave Shaffer – Grand Rapids City Commissioner,5/3 Bank Branch Manager
Jody Haan - Walgreens Store Manager
Absent - Dick Szymanski - Jedco
Sean Ellis - Southland Auto Wash
Absent - Jon O'Connor - West Michigan Appraisers, WGNO Board President, GRPS Board of Education member

Members Present
Nola Steketee – WGNO
Cathy Zyskowski – West Side Fitness
Andye Razmus – West Side Fitness
Dan Grinwis – Oasis of Hope
Jeff Joyce – Mieras Shoes
Gerri Shuart – Director of Mobile Watch
Katie Etheridge –ketherdge@kentssn.org
Austin Williams – Austin@thegeekgroup.org
Lis Bokt – lis@thegeekgroup.org
Megan Smith – msmith@shrr.com
Victoria Campbell – vcampbell@hotmail.com
Gordon Fessenden – gwfessenden@thegeekgroup.org
Alan Ort – GRPD aort@grcity.us
Bud Mohr
Dave Ovecholtip (sp?)

Call to order 1:40 pm
September Minutes – November Minutes – Dan Grinwis, motion to approve, Sue McKey seconded the motion. All aproved

Treasurers Report
November – Motion to approve Sue, Seconded Jane
December – Motion to approve Sue, Seconded Jane

Committee Updates –
West Grand Neighborhood Organization
Winterwest starts January 28 at Richmond Park. CPTED grants – so far we have 3 banks on board and have been given or promised $8,000.00. Our goal is $20,000.00 Kellogg is interested on how well this works and if it does, they will listen to a proposal for a matching grant application. Nola introduced the Geek Group.
A flier was handed out: New Neighbor, the Geek Group and Former YMCA The Geek Group is an eight year old nonprofit organization formed to promote the public’s interest in science and technology through educational activities and workshop access to creators, innovators, and inventors. It is a member of the international Association of Science and Technology Centers. It believes that by bringing science to life by supplementing classroom experience, young people take a more active interest in learning scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematics principles. It also believes that the tools of technology should be available to anybody regardless of age or socio-economic background. The organization intends to occupy and renovate the former YMCA building on West Leonard to:
  • House it science and technology exhibits and demonstrations for students of all ages including those demonstrating principles of physics, robotics, industrial engineering, astronomy, and electricity.
  • Allow room for the development of new exhibits linking scientific principles to music, dance, and other artistic expressions.
  • Expand its video production studio to develop educational DVDs demonstrating the application of science and technology in everyday living and continue its highly successful on-line video presence (over 250 YouTube presentations)
  • Provide space, tools and equipment for its membership from around the country and local residents to pursue their creative scientific and technological dreams.
  • Serve as a community science and technology resource center for West Michigan
  • Be a catalyst for attracting national “Geek” events such the Makers Faire to Grand Rapids
  • Offer another example for West Side reinvestment and renewal
  • Offer another educations destination for West Michigan young people and their families where they will develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the natural world.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE GEEP GROUP PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE at www.thegeekgroup.org or view us on our YouTube channel. Specific questions can be addressed to us at info@thegeekgroup.org The Geek Group will be going to planning soon, and would like a letter of support.

Mobile Watch
Gerri stated that she is currently working on creating a book that is convenient for everyone who is going to work on mobile watch to use. This manual will have all the information that is needed to aid and assist everyone in making sure that the program runs smooth. Furthermore, the manual will also have all the information that all the shifts write in, so that everyone will know what is happening and where. She talked about putting a mobile tool box together, where everything you need is at your fingertips, and when it is your turn, all you need to do is pick up one of the tool bags to complete your shift. The mobile watch program is searching our local businesses for new recruits that may want to become involved. Training will last approximately one hour, and we ask that you do one ride along with one of the already trained mobile watchers. All information collected is given to the GRPD, on the following Monday. If anyone is interested, contact Gerri Shuart at gls99aes@sbcglobal.net West Grand Neighborhood Organization – wgno@att.net Or call 616.451.0150

Discussion.. The committee is thinking about some new ideas for the upcoming months. Future ideas may include: 4th of July, community picnic, or parade or something to go along with that theme. Andye thought Cathy might like to elaborate when she arrived.

Area Plan
Lott, Guy, and Miller are currently working and fundraising towards reaching goals. So far the foundations that have been approached are very receptive to our plans. At the next meeting, there will be an update of funding. It is looking promising from all aspects. Sue interjected that the streetscape could really use some new parking stripes.
John and Stuart interjected – the YMCA has graffiti on it, and the owners refuse to take care of it until after the sale of the property. Van Sulke insurance building has had problems with people bringing a ladder and stealing their security lights, camera, started the building on fire, the property address is 951,953,955 Leonard. I told them I would send Officer Ort over there to talk with them. Post meeting – Ort had a conversation with the owner of the old YMCA Building, and also with Van Sulke Insurance owners.

Block Captains
Jane explained that as the Business Block Captains call in complaints, she just takes care of it, as her part of her own work in community organizing.
Joint Marketing
Sean asked that we finally nail down the name of the business district. Sue stated that she would like to take the three business districts and put a name to it so that we have an umbrella name that encompasses all districts, however each individual business still retain their names. West Leonard has been in business for years and years, and we are known by our name, and it would be a shame to take a way that part of our security. It was decided that a massive email would be sent to all businesses and we were to ask them what they wanted for a name. All names will be considered at the next meeting. Then we will make it legal by doing the appropriate paperwork, so that we retain our 506C status

The next meeting will be tomorrow, January 19, 2010, and there will be a report from that meeting next month.

Public Safety
We lost Captain Whitman to retirement, and we really wish her well in her new job as Chief of Police at GRCC. Lt. Dan Savage, commander of the SRT (SWAT) is acting Captain until further notice. It has been fairly quiet in the neighborhood.

New/Old Business
Letters of no trespass must be filed yearly. If you need a new letter, contact officer Ort – 456-3439. We will be working on membership Safe route to schools grant – it is currently in the hands of the school
Meeting adjourned 2:37 pm
Next Meeting – February 15, 2011