GR Forward revealed Grand Rapidians aspire to make the large plaza surrounding the Kent County Administration Building, Grand Rapids City Hall and La Grande Vitesse more inviting and comfortable for people to use everyday. This collaborative community process is designed to reimagine this important public park space and realize the plaza’s full potential. The process is facilitated by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. in partnership with Kent County and the City of Grand Rapids. The project goals include:

  • Leverage the plaza to its fullest potential.
  • Establish a world class public space.
  • Honor the plaza’s cultural heritage.
  • Improve access and mobility.
  • Embrace the plaza’s historic role as a governmental plaza.
  • Activate the plaza during all seasons.
  • Catalyze future development.
  • Provide iconic experiences for current and future generations.

Conceptual Vision for Calder Plaza

DGRI on July 25, 2017 presented the City Commission with the final conceptual master plan for transforming Calder Plaza in to a great gathering space for Grand Rapidians.

Conceptual Renderings of the Preferred Alternative for Calder Plaza

All renderings in JPG format.

Participatory Process Framework

The overall redesign process unfolded as follows:

July 2017 // Public Presentation

  • Presentation of final DRAFT Master Plan to City Commission (July 25, 2017)

February 2017 // Plan Approval

  • Steering Committee convenes to consider final DRAFT Master Plan (February 7, 2017)

January 2017 // Plan Refinement

  • Consultant team refines DRAFT plan based on Steering Committee and stakeholder comments

November 2016 // People’s Choice: A new DRAFT Vision Unveiled.

  • Steering Committee convenes (November 11, 2016)
  • Downtown Resident Network presentation (November 11, 2016)
  • Ongoing stakeholder dialogues

August-October 2016 // Evaluate Options 

  • Public exploration of different opportunities and decisions. 
  • Online community survey in English and en Español. (Open until September 23, 2016)
  • Design workshops with steering committee and issue focus groups. (September 26, 27)
  • Community Workshop #2 - Discussing conceptual options. (6:00 PM August 30 at City Hall)
  • Ongoing stakeholder dialogues
  • Steering committee convenes (August 30, 2016)

June-July 2016 // Imagine the Possibilities

  • A burst of ideas from the community.
  • Online community survey in English and en Español. (Now Closed)
  • Community Workshop #1 - Visioning the possibilities (June 28, 2016)
  • Steering committee convenes
  • Focus group discussions (June 28, 2016)
    • Operations & Management
    • Economic Development, Merchants & Tourism
    • Creating a Welcoming Public Space
    • Special Events & Programming
    • Arts, History & Culture
    • Neighboring Tenants


All documents in PDF format.

A Plaza Full of Options

Grand Rapidians convened on August 30, 2016 for a community forum to review and evaluate a series of conceptual possibilities for redesigning Calder Plaza.

This video features landscape architect Mike Albert of Design Workshop presenting a variety of options and choices for the plaza's redesign. These preliminary concepts are based on public input gathered through the public survey, community visioning workshop and focus group discussions in June.

The presentation was followed by an interactive survey of meeting participants to gauge interest in and support for the various alternatives. Click here - in English and en Español - to take that survey and share your views on the alternatives presented in the video immediately below.


Citizen Steering Committee

  • Ace Covey, Grand Rapids Sport and Social Club
  • Brandy Moeller, City of Grand Rapids / Alliance For Vibrancy
  • Carl Kelly, resident
  • Sam Cummings, CWD Real Estate Investment
  • Chris Reader, Spectrum Health
  • Dana Friis-Hansen, Grand Rapids Art Museum
  • Duke Turley, event producer
  • Eddie Tadlock, Devos Place / Alliance For Vibrancy
  • Elizabeth Ransford, resident and historian
  • Greg Sundstrom, City of Grand Rapids
  • Jorge Gonzales, West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Kristian Grant, Sydneys Boutique GR / Alliance For Investment
  • Lisa LaPlante, Kent County
  • Lynee Wells, Williams and Works / Alliance For Livability
  • Mark DeClercq, City of Grand Rapids
  • Mary Swanson, Kent County
  • Scott Stenstrom, 5/3 Bank / Alliance For Vibrancy
  • Tommy Allen, artist
  • Richard App, Richard App Gallery
  • Matt Patulski, digital consultant
  • Scott Wierda, CWD Real Estate Investment

Consultant Team

  • Design Workshop specializes in landscape architecture, planning, urban design and serves as project manager.
  • Marlon Blackwell Architects is a design centered critical architecture firm that is assisting in the design and execution of the visionary ideas for Calder Plaza.
  • ETM Associates specialize in public space management and operations and is helping ensure the designs for Calder Plaza are accompanied by a long-term maintenance and operations plan.
  • RWDI are wind engineering, microclimate and human comfort specialists using advanced engineering tools and expertise to optimize designs for Calder Plaza from a human perspective.