Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids

 

 
       
     

About the Grand Rapids, Michigan Area 

Come home to Grand Rapids, the grand, garden city of Michigan's West Coast. The state’s second largest city, Grand Rapids combines all the pleasures of a cosmopolitan metropolis with all the charm and friendliness of a classic small town. A city with flair, where design has always made a difference, Grand Rapids was known in the nineteenth century as the “Paris of Furniture Design” and an attention to aesthetics in all things has been a local hallmark ever since. 

An extraordinary degree of design and civic planning has been lavished on gorgeous residential neighborhoods with tree-lined streets offering homes in every style, including historic homes by famed architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright. From mansions in the downtown area, to newer sub-divisions on the outskirts of town, there’s a house, condo, apartment or flat to meet every budget at a price that’s considerably less than the national average. 

Grand Rapids boasts the beauty of abundant flowers and greenery by day and a kaleidoscope of twinkling lights at night. A city on a cultural roll, $200 million has been invested in theaters, museums, recreational and sports facilities in recent years. You can lose yourself among the plants and sculptures of the Frederik Meijer Gardens, explore a museum dedicated to favorite son, President Gerald Ford, stroll the boardwalk along the Grand River or choose from more than fifty restaurants and nightclubs in dynamic downtown. Cheer on local professional sports teams that compete in baseball, hockey and arena football or take in an exciting round of golf when the Senior PGA tour passes through the area. 

Grand Rapids offers a spectacular array of cultural and entertainment activities including the Grand Rapids Symphony, Opera Grand Rapids, St. Cecilia Music Society and Grand Rapids Ballet. From dramas and comedies to touring Broadway productions, theater lover’s can choose from the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Actor's Theater, Circle Theater, Heritage Theatre Group and Broadway Theater Guild.  

Learn about local history at the Van Andel Museum Center, view breathtaking paintings at the Grand Rapids Art Museum or the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts and a visit to the John Ball Park Zoo or the Children’s Museum will thrill the kids. A real treat is lounging in an Eames chair in the lobby of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, opened in 1913, while admiring the largest gold leaf ceiling in the world overhead. Nothing gives you a better sense of how much design matters in Grand Rapids. 

Experience for yourself how an artistic sense of design shaped Grand Rapids in historic Heritage Hill, a 40-block hillside neighborhood east of downtown. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Heritage Hill preserves homes representing over 60 architectural styles. The first home was built in 1845 and the area has remained a showcase for refined and elegant living ever since. It is bordered by Lafayette Avenue on the west, Pleasant Street on the south, Union Avenue on the east and Michigan Street on the north. 

Shopping in Grand Rapids is unparalleled and includes four local malls as well as charming main streets with friendly merchants. Dining options are varied and superb and the highest quality medical care is available at four major area hospitals. Grand Rapids celebrates with festivals year round that include everything from Tulip Time in Holland to Muskegon’s Summer Celebration. Grand Rapids also has its own community college and the school district is top-notch, priding itself on its commitment to excellence.  

Scenically set along the Grand River with a four seasons climate, Grand Rapids is breathtakingly beautiful throughout the year. With its system of fish ladders to promote the salmon spawn, Grand Rapids is one of few cities in the world where anglers share fishing holes surrounded by the glass and steel towers of a city humming with commerce.  

Even better, within twenty minutes or less from anywhere in the city, you can play golf, canoe a river or hike a trail, in a setting of natural splendor away from it all. Lake Michigan is less than 30 minutes away, offering waves and deep waters for boating, swimming and skiing plus charming seaside villages featuring quaint shops, restaurants and historic attractions.  

The Grand Rapids Metro Area has a broad economic base consisting of manufacturing, service and retail sectors and continues its tradition as a noted center for furniture manufacturing with famed makers of office furnishings such as Steelcase, Haworth and Herman Miller. Fortune magazine has named Grand Rapids the "Tenth Best City for Business in the US" and the area offers access to a thriving region of more than a million people. 

All that plus a top 10 national ranking for affordable housing makes Grand Rapids the perfect place for singles and families, young and old, working professionals and retirees alike. Individuals from all walks of life are welcome to come home to Grand Rapids and live happily ever after! 

   
     

LOCATION 

Grand Rapids is located in scenic Kent County, just 35 minutes east of Lake Michigan, in the west central part of the state. Nestled along the Grand River, it sits on US-131 just south of the junction with I-196, 150 miles west of Detroit and 170 miles northeast of Chicago. Quaint surrounding towns include East Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Comstock Park, Walker and Kentwood. The state capital at Lansing is 68 miles east and Ft. Wayne Indiana is 135 miles south.  

Grand Rapids is the second largest city in the state of Michigan encompassing an area of approximately 45 square miles with the Grand River, a major Michigan waterway, running right through the city center. Grand Rapids is the county seat of Kent County, which covers 856 square miles and includes a metropolitan area with a population of over 1,000,000. 

TRANSPORTATION/AIRPORTS 

Grand Rapids is the second largest city in Michigan and sits at the heart of a modern transportation infrastructure that makes it easy to get wherever you’re going, near or far. US-131 runs north-south on the western border of town while I-196 borders on the north offering easy access to the I-96 as it continues east curving around the eastern border of East Grand Rapids towards Lansing and Detroit. Main state highways include MI-37 on the east, running north-south and MI-11 on the south, running east-west. 

Gerald R. Ford International Airport, conveniently located right in Grand Rapids, is the primary air transportation facility serving the entire West Michigan region. The airport is located at the intersection of 44th Street and Patterson Avenue SE and offers nonstop service to major domestic destinations, with continuing service available to points around the planet. It is the state's second largest airport with more than 170 daily flights providing service to over 5,000 passengers. Airports serving private aircraft include Riverview Airport in Jenson, Paul C. Miller Airport in Sparta and Somerville Airport in Somerville, each about 10 miles away.  

Grand Rapids boasts a well developed and integrated public transportation system operated by the Interurban Transit Partnership (ITP), which offers regular bus routes, parking lot shuttles and dial-a-ride service. Commonly referred to as “The Rapid”, the ITP was the 2004 recipient of the Outstanding Transit System Award given by the American Public Transportation Association recognizing excellence in system reliability, security and customer service. The ITP connects Grand Rapids by bus and shuttle with the surrounding cities of East Grand Rapids, Grandville, Kentwood, Walker, Wyoming and the townships of Byron and Gaines. Ride for a fare of only $1.30 with discounts for seniors and students, on routes that cover a service area comprising 452 square miles. 

A Downtown area shuttle system (DASH) includes eight fast, efficient, free shuttle buses that connect Downtown businesses and attractions with three outlying parking lots. There are also two Greyhound bus stations in town plus an Amtrak station where the Pere Marquette train begins its daily service between Grand Rapids and Chicago.

 

   
     

BRIEF HISTORY 

Over 2,000 years ago, the Hopewell Indians, known for their large burial mounds, occupied the Grand River Valley. Beginning approximately 300 years ago, the Ottawa Indians moved into the area and lived in several villages along the river. When the British and French arrived, the Ottawa traded fur pelts for European metal and textile goods. 

One French trader named Louis Campau established a trading post on what came to be known as the City of Grand Rapids, in 1826. Although he was not the first permanent European settler, that distinction falls to a Baptist minister named Isaac McCoy who arrived in 1825, Campau became perhaps the most important settler. In 1831, he bought what is now the entire downtown business district of Grand Rapids from the federal government for $90. 

Design has always mattered in Grand Rapids. The city's old nicknames like, "The Paris of Furniture Design" and "The Furniture City" harkens all the way back to 1837, when cabinetmaker William Haldane set up shop. Attention to aesthetics was evident even earlier in seasonal camps along the Grand River, where Ottawa Indians wove intricate birch bark baskets. 

By 1838 the settlement had incorporated as a village encompassing an area of approximately three-quarters of a mile. The first formal census took place in 1845 and discovered a population of 1,510 on an area of four square miles. By 1850, the burgeoning community was incorporated as a city with a population of 2,686 and by 1857 Grand Rapids had expanded to 10.5 square miles.

After an international exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876, Grand Rapids became recognized worldwide as a leader in the production of fine furniture. Today, Grand Rapids continues that tradition and is considered a world leader in the production of office furniture. 

By the dawn of the new century, the people of Grand Rapids numbered 82,565 and in 1916 the citizens voted to adopt a commission-manager form of government, one of the first in the country. The 1916 Charter, that established that government, although amended several times, is still in effect. 

The much-imitated political system features two non-partisan commissioners, elected from each of the city's three wards with a mayor who is elected at large by a majority of all voters. A manager is hired by the commission to serve as the city's chief administrator and is responsible for the coordination of all city departments and for the execution of policies and programs set by the commission.  

Efficient administration is only one facet of Grand Rapids history of leadership. In 1881, the country's first hydro-electric plant came to life on the City's west side and Grand Rapids led the nation in 1945 when it became the first city in the United States to add fluoride to its drinking water. Grand Rapids also lays claims to the first scheduled air service and the first publicly funded art installation.  

Like the river it's named for, the history of Grand Rapids is vibrant, exciting, and diverse.  

 

   

EDUCATION 

Grand Rapids has its own public school district with 53 elementary schools, 25 middle schools and 9 high schools as well as 2 public charter school serving grades K-8. The Grand Rapids School District is focused on excellence with a curriculum focused on ensuring that students acquire strong reading skills. There is a strong partnership with local business and industry to help raise funds and mentor students and test scores are on the rise under the leadership of a new superintendent. Additionally, there are 10 private elementary and middle schools and 10 private high schools, offering instruction in both religious and secular settings. 

Grand Rapids is home to twelve colleges and universities including Aquinas College, Calvin College, and Cornerstone University, all private, religious schools, each with a campus on the east side of the city. Grand Rapids Community College maintains an extensive campus downtown with facilities in other parts of the city and surrounding region.  

Grand Valley State University, features a main campus in Allendale with just over 15,000 students while continuing to develop its presence in Grand Rapids with an expanding downtown campus on the west bank of the river. Ferris State University has a campus downtown that includes both the Kendall College of Art and Design and the Applied Technology Center while Davenport University, a statewide educational institution, has one of its main campuses in downtown Grand Rapids.  

Western Michigan University, about an hour away in Kalamazoo, is one of the top public universities in the state and one of the top 100 in the nation. There are 255 different degree programs including 165 bachelor’s degree, 62 master’s degree and 25 doctoral programs. WMU has a student body of approximately 30,000 students with satellite campuses scattered throughout the region offering both day as well as evening classes for working professionals.

 

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Contact Information

Photo of Bob & Lisa Novosad Real Estate
Bob & Lisa Novosad
The Novosad Team, LLC, Keller Williams Realty
630 Kenmoor SE, Suite 101
Grand Rapids MI 49546
(616) 575-0140
616-437-0209
Fax: 866-801-1086