The State of Michigan, the City of Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) offer a variety of performance-based incentives to developers, entrepreneurs and companies undertaking projects to grow and enhance the urban core. Here below is a list of major and commonly used public sector tools available to support the growth of Downtown.

Activate This Place Grant

This grant focuses on animating and energizing underutilized public spaces in the Downtown neighborhood.

The program aspires to incentivize and support creative interventions such as permanent public artwork, window displays that add energy to empty storefronts, pop-up parklets that enhance street life and other "placemaking" initiatives.

What is placemaking? According to Project for Public Spaces, “Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community." MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning defines "placemaking" as “the deliberate shaping of an environment to facilitate social interaction and improve a community’s quality of life.”

Towards these goals, DGRI's Activate this Place Grant Program organizes around:

  • Public art installations, programming, and interactive initiatives
  • Expanding public space and amenities for people

The level of funding available depends on the nature of the proposed project.

This grant is currently not taking applications.

Grant Info: Activate This Place Grant Info

Downtown Enhancement Grant

Financial assistance to enhance projects in Downtown Grand Rapids that furthers the community goals established in GR Forward and the organizational goals of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.

Projects within the Downtown Development Authority's (DDA) boundary are eligible for the Downtown Enhancement Program. The DDA will fund project elements and enhancements beyond what is required by the City of Grand Rapids, and which are deemed to be publicly owned, including but not limited to the following elements:

  • Accessibility Enhancements for Persons of all Abilities
  • Bicycle and Multi-Modal Facilities
  • Parklets
  • Public Art
  • Others as Approved by Review Committee

Application: Downtown Enhancement Grant and Application

Window Activation Reimbursement Program

This grant program provides funding support to Downtown retailers, bars, restaurants and other storefront businesses with temporary installations of artwork that activate Downtown’s streetspace by showcasing active businesses and promoting vibrancy within the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) boundary.

Grant funds are intended to be used for helping businesses promote themselves and Downtown economic activity.

Proposals are accepted between the periods of October 1 through November 30, to reset annually.