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


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Welcome West


West Grand Downtown District Meeting

November 16, 2010
Meeting Minutes
West Grand Neighborhood Organization 415 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
Jody Haan - Walgreens Store Manager
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
Rachael Bush – Trinity Reformed Church
VanSlyke Insurance Agency
John Inghram – Mulder Lutz & Inghram
Gerri Shuart – Director of Mobile Watch

Call to order 1:37 pm
September Minutes – Motion to approve Mark, Second the motion Sue, October Minutes – Motion to approve Mark, Second the motion Sean, Motion to approve the minutes – 6 yeas, 0 nays

Treasurers Report
September – Motion to approve Jane, Seconded Sue October – Motion to approve Sue, Second Jane Motion to approve the treasurer’s report – 6 yeas, 0 nays
Committee Updates –
West Grand Neighborhood Organization
– West Grand announces that Gerri Shuart is taking directorship of the Mobile Watch. Channel 17, Fox has started a program called Pay It Forward. Danae Karp a volunteer at WGNO went to Fox 17 and stated that West Grand always pays it forward, and placed us in the contest to win the prize. Voting for WGNO will begin November 24th, so please take the time to log into Fox 17 and vote for us. Our residential Christmas Open house is on December 16th, 2010 at WGNO. The After-hours party will begin at 6:00 O’clock on December 16, 2010 and is open to all city officials, Grand Rapids Police Department, City Departments, and all the businesses on the Westside. WGNO has adopted a family for Christmas, and is accepting any donations to make this happen for a family of 5. Adeline’s Promise will be filling stockings for seniors and any donations for this is also welcome. There will be a meeting with lenders regarding CPTED, already on board, Mercantile, 5/3rd Bank, and Chemical Bank. We have interest from Chase, and two others.
Nola attended Aquinas College SIFE seminar regarding energy efficiency, there will be 4 model neighborhoods in Grand Rapids. Nola attended meeting with County Commissioner Dick Bulkowski in hopes that the program chooses WGNO area for the next model. This has the potential of putting 6000,000 dollars in the community in energy efficiency. Along with the commissioner we put on a ½ hour presentation regarding WGNO area and their business districts. Also they had a trade show booth to showcase the residential and business district. Nola said that we should have something already put together to highlight West Grand Downtown District/West Leonard Business District, so if this opportunity ever comes up again, we are all prepared.
Mobile Watch
Gerri Shuart said she was born and raised in Grand Rapids. She has lived on Jennette for over 37 years, and she has a stake in the neighborhood. Gerri said she had participated in the first mobile watch, and she has been working hard on getting it back on the west side. It really involves family and friends, co-workers, businesses, and true dedication. It can be a lot of fun, and Jane and I are willing to take anyone out to learn how to do it. Basically, all we are is the eyes and ears of a neighborhood. We want to fully staff two nights, Friday and Saturday, from 9 pm to 12 midnight, and 12 midnight to 3 am. We would like to have 2 to 3 people per shift. We drive alleys, shine our lights on businesses, parks, and other darkened areas. Training will start between March and April, so we can start as soon as the weather breaks. Johnny also mentioned that we have tools for this, a police scanner, signs for our cars, and spot lights. Gerri showed the group all of our tools. If anyone is interested, contact Gerri Shuart at gls99aes@sbcglobal.net

Recap of the 5K… We would like to thank Cathy and Andye for a good job well done. There are shirts left and are currently on sale for $10.00 – large and x-large Discussion We feel that it was a great success, as 25 runners participated. It was unfortunate that the weather was a large issue to the lack of a turnout for the festival. There may be chances to change it up as we progress into the next one, maybe have a costume run, etc. Jerron Julien, the coach of the Union Swim Team brought his team to volunteer and help set it all up. That was great, Cathy said. The local involvement was great. Jody stated that she has put on several events for Relay for Life, and for Cathy and Andye’s first attempt in this event, they did a wonderful job, and should be commended for a great job. As for the commitment – we should have all made the commitment to be there rain or shine, and next year, we will stress this. The event over all was great, and we will learn from this one, so that next year will be even better. Bulleted points for improvement will be forthcoming at the next meeting.

Area Plan
Potential is great, and as we speak, Andy Guy is securing grand funds. We will be working on getting a list of people, businesses, and a committee together to secure funds from businesses. Area specific, benefits within 2 years Business Improvement – not as mainstream, the city sends out postcards, and we get residential and business support, and it is voted on. The benefit of this we get to use the money for improvements. Business Improvements - is immediate. Corridor Improvements – captures tax monies which cumulate over time. The benefits future businesses, attracts better businesses. Corridor improvements, benefits are futuristic, it grows with time.
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.

Joint Marketing
We are currently proofing the business directory. The website is up and running.

New/Old Business
Ralphs – currently working on the changes within the business; however we believe that they are working on the financial end of it. DeVries Jewelers – is still planning on moving. Arnie’s Property is currently up for sale
Meeting adjourned 2:54 pm
Next Meeting – Mercantile Bank, 310 Leonard St. NW, January 18, 2011 @ 1:30 PM