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Supporters kick off campaign to pass GRCC millage in May

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Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Kent County Commission Chair Sandi Frost Parrish endorses the GRCC millage at the kick off campaign Wednesday morning.

People supporting a new tax millage for Grand Rapids Community College kicked off their campaign Wednesday. The millage would raise almost $100 million over 20 years pay to renovate almost every building on campus; including the main building constructed 90 years ago.

Students, employers, Democrats and even some Republicans gathered at the school’s Music Center Wednesday morning.

“100 years, 500,000 students; that’s a lot of wear and tear,” Grand Rapids Community College President Steve Enders told the group.

GRCC’s Music Center, constructed in 1922 as a gym, would be completely gutted and soundproofed. Plus the leaky roof would get fixed.

Kent County Commission Chair Sandi Frost Parrish admits it’s tough for an elected official to support a tax increase right now. “I’m one of the most fiscally conservative members on our commission,” Frost Parrish explained. But the Republican announced her support along with about a hundred other people. “I’m convinced that this plan is conservative. It’s well thought out and it preserves the assets for the future,” Frost Parrish said.

Autocam COO John Buchan says he’s one of 631 West Michigan businesses that partner with GRCC for workforce development.

 “The return comes from higher skills that lead to higher paying jobs that lead to manufacturers like ourselves that will employ and be in business in the future. That’s a win-win scenario,” Buchan said.

Kent County voters decide on GRCC’s millage request May 8th.

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s investigative reporter. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor and West Michigan Reporter.
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