The Sept. 7th edition of the West Business Michigan News informs us of yet another city planner pitching her wares to G.R.'s downtown crowd. The latest idea is to expand the definiton of downtown Grand Rapids, re-organize its governing bodies, and then re-plan this new bailiwick with a new body to conform to Governor Granholm's "Cool Cities" agenda.
Hmm. First of all, why must Grand Rapids be anything other than what it is? A decent, clean, and orderly middle-sized city with a strong manufacturing and agricultural base only a short drive from some of the most beautiful shoreline in the world, world-class golf courses, the great north woods, and countless sports and fishing lakes, while the charms and luxuries of the big city are less than three hours away in both directions.
Second, assuming we should want a "cool" Grand Rapids, how do you plan it? It's a quality organic to a community that requires a mixture of factors for its propogation that no one can deliberately bring about or control. You cannot plan a "cool city". Indeed, trying to do so strikes me as very uncool.