A Streetcar Named Ionia? – Downtown Grand Rapids


Downtown Grand Rapids Streetcars?


Couple in San Francisco with streetcar in background

One can only hope. Very interesting news for downtown Grand Rapids. The Federal Government has approved a ~$500,000 earmark from the 2008 Federal Transportation Appropriations Bill.

If this does come to pass, it could generate a very good return on investment for the city similar to how the Renaissance Zone (Tax Free Living) generated such an influx of business and investment into Grand Rapids.

There are a couple of streetcar success stories to compare this with as well. A 2.5 mile track in Little Rock, Arkansas, cost $16.9M to to build and encouraged $200M in investment. A similar case in Portland, Oregon where a 4.8 mile track cost $55.2M and leveraged over $1 Billion in investment to the city.

According to RapidGrowthMedia, the money could fund an enviornmental Downtown Grand Rapids Streetcarsimpact study (a prerequisite for fed funding) and a study of future alignment extensions for future development.

I’ll tell you what. I think this would be a fantastic project for the downtown Grand Rapids condo scene and we can only hope the decision makers think so too.

I would greatly enjoy using the streetcar when showing downtown condos and it would add to the excitment of an already fun city!

Update: Here is an article at mLive  by Ken Kolker of the GR Press that gives more information, costs etc.

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