I didn’t see this coming really. I live in Grand Rapids and am I ever happy to be back from California two weeks out. They have nice blooming flowers and fresh figs all year but that doesn’t outweigh all of their problems. I’m happy to live here and have gained perspective. Grand Rapids has a history of provincial conservatism as the birthplace of Gerald R. Ford, but he wasn’t the worst of the conservatives! Compared to the likes of Trump, Graham, Ryan, and the rest of the bunch in Washington right now he seems pretty tame. He was actually a decent fellow and very well loved in these parts. This could still be considered a Republican stronghold but West Michigan went for Obama during his elections. That was unusual.
Medical Marijuana is legal in Grand Rapids and we have a growing student population with the growth of GVSU (Grand Valley State University). Grand Rapids is really changing quickly. The housing values are going up 14% a year so this area is in demand. Hopefully, we can manage the growth without it becoming a mini-Chicago. My guess is, with the difficult winters in Michigan, only the hearty and communal will have the gusto to move here.
The other issue is the social requirements. Everywhere you go in Michigan, people smile, wave, and talk to you whether they know you or not. We have a common humanity in the midst of our provincialism. People help one another here more than they ignore others. Our state is also pluralistic, so even though most people here call it home and haven’t traveled the world, they will give someone from another part of the world a chance to exhibit their decency and contribute to the community in any fashion they can. But you do have to contribute and do your share. We don’t wait for the government to take care of us here. We get organized ourselves for the most part and get moving.
Grand Rapids used to be quite segregated but in the last five years, the neighborhood demographics are changing quickly. East Town is becoming more like East Grand Rapids and the Polish Westside, where I live, is becoming more like East Town. East Town is a funky little area right next to the very upscale East Grand Rapids where the rich live. Apparently, the wealthy are expanding in the Wealthy St. area and pushing out the hipsters. They’re walking on my sidewalk now with their buns on their heads and long skirts and jean jackets. My neighborhood is very integrated.
My modest house value is shooting up and it will continue that way barring any major weather cataclysm. This is significant given the fact that in 2009 it was underwater due to the housing crisis caused by the crimes of Wall St. I managed to re-modify my loan and own my house outright as a single woman. I hope to leverage all of that in my favor in the next five years as I live here alone.
Here’s to authentic G.R. up and coming, where you’re expected to just tell the truth, be yourself, and do your best. Cheers!