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My Town GR North: Expect driving detours during Monroe Avenue construction

My Town GR North: Expect driving detours during Monroe Avenue construction

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Potholes plaguing a section of Monroe Avenue will soon disappear.

Construction on Monroe from Ann to North Park streets is expected to begin this week.  Crews with Kamminga and Roodvoets, Inc. will remove and resurface portions of the roadway, as well as install four roundabouts at Knapp Street, Guild Street, 3 Mile Road and North Park Street. Workers will also create a new bike path on the west side of Monroe,  install a new sidewalk from Boltwood Drive to 3 Mile Road, add handicap accessible ramps, and upgrade storm sewers and street lighting.

The $3.3 million project will be broken up into three phases, which should all be finished by mid-September. During Phase I, drivers will need to take a detour onto Ann Street, taking Plainfield to 3 Mile.  Phase II and Phase II project will include driving detours onto Coit Avenue and West River Drive.

My Town: Grand Rapids among 2014 America's Most Affordable Cities

My Town: Grand Rapids among 2014 America's Most Affordable Cities

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Grand Rapids is adding another honor to its list of titles.

The city has made it onto Forbes Magazine’s list of America’s Most Affordable Cities for 2014.  Grand Rapids ranked seventh on the list, based on population (774,160 people), the Housing Opportunity Index ( 85.1) , which measures housing affordability, and a cost-of-living index (97.6), which factors in food, utilities, gas, transportation, medical expenses and other daily costs. Cities with an index number below 100 are below the national cost-of-living average.

Buffalo, NY took the top spot.  Warren, MI ranked 10, and Detroit tied with Toledo, OH for 11th place.

My Town: Public invited to discuss future of Kent County highways

My Town: Public invited to discuss future of Kent County highways

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—The Michigan Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting next week to detail the work needed on U.S. 131 and I-96 in Kent County over the next 20 years.

MDOT says community members will play an important role in the project decisions, from concept to completion.  People are encouraged to bring concerns and ideas to the open house-format meeting on Thursday, March 6, from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.  The meeting will take place at the Rockford Construction Community Center, located at 601 First St. NW in Grand Rapids.

MDOT is currently studying preservation and improvement options for U.S. 131 between 100th Street and M-57 and I-96 between Fruit Ridge Avenue and Leonard Street.

For those who cannot make Thursday’s meeting, MDOT will hold a second forum Wednesday, March 12, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Walker Fire station at 1470 3 Mile Road NW.  

My Town GR: Side street plowing rescheduled amid new snow

My Town GR: Side street plowing rescheduled amid new snow

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The City of Grand Rapids is postponing clearing snow from the city’s side streets as crews focus on removing a fresh blanket of snow from major roadways.

The city says snow clearing in the area of I-196 to Fulton and Lafayette to Fuller will now take place Monday, March 3.  The work was previously scheduled for Feb. 27.

Side street clearing in the area of Knapp to Leonard and Plainfield to Fuller is being rescheduled for Tuesday, March 3.  The work was supposed to take place Feb. 28 before the latest round of snow hit.

Disability Advocates of Kent County hold bus stop clearing contest

Disability Advocates of Kent County hold bus stop clearing contest

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The higher temperatures and rain will likely not rid West Michigan of all of its snow, which is why the Disability Advocates of Kent County is inviting all shovelers to take part in a contest.

The organization is asking everyone to help dig out bus stops in the Grand Rapids metro area, which are buried under snow.  While many people can climb over the snow banks to get on buses, people with disabilities cannot.

People who dig out a bus stop are asked to take a before and after picture and email them to Aric Coleman at aric.c@dakc.us , along with the location of the bus stop.  The Disability Advocates of Kent County will post the pictures on its Facebook Page to recognize your efforts.  Members of the group that clears the most stops by Feb.

Grand Rapids woman wins national photo contest

Grand Rapids woman wins national photo contest

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--  Two photos are all it took to get a Grand Rapids woman to her family in Missouri this holiday season.

Kristie Lynn Schrotenboer is a winner of the Exxon and Mobil Fueling Connections national photo contest.  She created a seamless photo mash-up with the help of her friend Lori.  Their prize: $1,000 worth of ExxonMobil gift cards.  

“I plan on using the gift card on my Thanksgiving drive to my sister’s house in Missouri,” said Schrotenboer. “It’s a 10-hour trip that came up recently when we learned my sister and her family couldn’t come to our parent’s house in Grand Rapids. Instead, our immediate family, all 13 of us, including our parents and brother from Texas, will be driving down to spend Thanksgiving together.”

New bike path to cut through Grand Rapids

New bike path to cut through Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A new bike path will soon take shape in Grand Rapids.

The city is getting a $618,514 grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation to create the Seward Avenue Bikeway.  The 3.5 mile bike route will cut through the heart of Grand Rapids and connect nearly 190 miles of regional trails, including the White Pine Trail, Oxford Street Trail and Kent Trails. The path will run along Seward Avenue from Wealthy Street to the Riverside Park trailhead and include a bike shelter, bike lockers, bike signs and signals and an upgraded pedestrian bridge over Indian Mill Creek at Broadway Avenue.

The project is expected to cost just over $1 million.  Additional funding will come from the City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Bikes Belong and Freewheeler Bike Shop.  The city commission will recognize all financial supporters during its meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.