GVSU to develop pedestrian mall on Pew Grand Rapids campus

Mount Vernon Avenue in Grand Rapids.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

Grand Valley will transform Mount Vernon Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids into a pedestrian campus, featuring a pathway, green space and a bike trail.

During its February 26 virtual meeting, the GVSU Board of Trustees approved the redevelopment of Mount Vernon Avenue between Fulton and Watson streets on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus. 

The project will include a new pedestrian pathway with tables, benches and a non-motorized bike trail. The pathway will connect four GVSU buildings: Peter F. Secchia Hall, Winter Hall, the L. William Seidman Center and the Bicycle Factory. 

There will also be plaza areas with raised planters, seat walls, art walls and green space for student recreation and university events.

Mount Vernon Avenue was closed in December 2017 so the City of Grand Rapids could study traffic patterns and pedestrian safety. The board reviewed all the circumstances and reached the judgment that public safety for pedestrians and users of the Laker Line meant addressing the deteriorating condition of the street, sidewalks and adjacent areas.  

Rendering of Mount Vernon redevelopement.
Image credit - Courtesy photo

Grand Valley owns all properties adjacent Mount Vernon. The $3.9 million project is scheduled to be finished by August and will be funded through the Strategic Capital Reserve Fund.

Karen Ingle, associate vice president for Facilities Planning, said the redevelopment will enhance the downtown campus and enrich the student experience.

Ingle also reported that construction of the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health on the Health Campus in downtown Grand Rapids is on schedule. The building will open in May.

Other board action/discussion:

Board members approved a master’s degree in recreational therapy for fall 2021. The degree is a three-track program, focusing on advanced-practice issues and competencies. It will be offered as a hybrid program with the majority of coursework online.

The board approved the expansion of a Grand Valley charter school, Michigan Preparatory Virtual School, to include grades K-6 in addition to its current offerings of grades 7-12. The board also approved appointments and reappointments of charter school board members.

Former board members Mary Kramer and John Russell.
Former board members Mary Kramer and John Russell.
Image credit - Elizabeth Lienau

Former board members Mary Kramer and John Russell were recognized for their years of service to Grand Valley.

Kramer was honored for her eight years of service; she was only the second alumna to be elected chair of the Board of Trustees. She was recognized for her commitment to an inclusive process, especially when the university conducted a presidential search for the first time in 13 years. The board thanked her for ensuring a smooth transition from the presidency of Thomas J. Haas to Philomena V. Mantella.

Russell served on the board for eight years and was chair of the Finance and Audit Committee. He was recognized for his leadership, counsel and commitment to  transparency in the execution of the university’s financial and endowment activities. Russell’s commitment to leadership excellence at Consumers Energy led to the establishment of the company’s leadership training center bearing his name on the university’s Pew Grand Rapids Campus.


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