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DeVos-backed development proposed for SE Grand Rapids draws excitement and skepticism

Amplify GR development plans
Bryce Huffman
Michigan Radio
Ashanti Bryant with Amplify GR showing Boston Square residents plans for a new development.

A DeVos Foundation-backed non-profit group is bringing a development proposal to the Grand Rapids city planning commission on Thursday. Some residents are excited but they also have concerns.

Amplify GR wants to develop a 9-acre area in the Boston Square neighborhood. The group is proposing 250 new affordable housing units, retail spaces and a park.

Other organizations have proposed similar projects over the last decade, but Amplify GR has been in the driver’s seat for the last three years.

Victor Williams, president of the Boston Square Neighborhood Association, says his neighbors are excited but also worried about the project.

“People are excited for development, we just don’t want gentrification,” Williams says.

Williams, who founded the neighborhood association, says he’s skeptical about the project, despite “good will and good talks with Amplify GR.”

“We’ve seen it so many times where those good words have been spoken before and then they switch up on people in the end. We just don’t want that to be the story here,” he says.

Ashanti Bryant, Education Director with Amplify GR, says it is not here to fix the community, but give residents what they want to see.

“We aren’t here to displace the people who have been here for decades like some other development projects. We want to help you make this neighborhood into what the residents want it to be,” Bryant says.

Amplify GR will be taking its plan to the city planning commission, which will be meeting at 1120 Monroe Avenue on Thursday at 1 pm.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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