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With thousands of families struggling with the pandemic economy in Grand Rapids, Grand Action is proposing a downtown Amphitheater

October 7, 2020

Last Saturday, it was reported by several of the dominant news sources in West Michigan, that the people who run Grand Rapids are still working on adding a large amphitheater and a soccer stadium.

The two primary entities involved in this effort are Grand Action and the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority. However, there are several other organizations involved, like the Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., the Right Place Inc. and Experience Grand Rapids. All of these entities are made up of first & second tier members of the Grand Rapids Power Structure.

MLive reported on this story and said that one possibility for where the amphitheater could go would be where Charlie’s Crab sits, including the adjacent parking lot. The MLive article also reported:

The property at 63 Market Ave. is owned by a limited liability company with the same address as RDV Corporation, the DeVos family office. A nearby surface parking lot is owned by the Amway Hotel Corporation.

“It’s too big a parcel and too important to the future of the city to be developed independently,” Frey said of the two pieces of land. “It has a spectacular potential for the next big phase of what this city’s all about.”

Unfortunately, MLive did not contact the RDV Corporation (DeVos-owned) to ask if 63 Market LLC was indeed a DeVos-owned property. I think it is pretty safe to assume that DeVos does own this property, along with the adjacent parking lot. In addition, since Grand Action is involved in this project, that means Dick DeVos will be directly involved.

Equally important is what David Frey (also a member of the GR Power Structure) has to say in the MLive article, specifically that the parcel shouldn’t be “developed independently” and “It has a spectacular potential for the next big phase of what this city’s all about.” 

When David Frey says that this development project should happen independently, what he really means is that those of us who run the city will make the decisions about this project, we’ll donate some money, but we’ll get taxpayers to foot the bulk of the costs to make the amphitheater a reality

When David Frey says this project has a spectacular potential for the next big phase of what this city’s all about, he means that this is what the local power structure wants the city to be about. On the matter of the next big phase, Frey is actually referencing 2016 study that Grand Action had done to look at how to make Grand Rapids a tourism and entertainment destination, something we reported on that year. Unfortunately, MLive failed to mention that the amphitheater and the soccer stadium were not new ideas, but part of a larger plan make more profits for the members of the Grand Rapids Power Structure.

When we reported on the Grand Action tourism and entertainment study in 2016, we made a point about how those plans were happening in the midst of a major housing crisis in Grand Rapids. Today, it would be appropriate to say that the members of Grand Action are planning to get the public to pay for their projects, while thousands in Grand Rapids are still facing eviction, unemployment and food insecurity, all in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic. This is what we call good old fashioned Class Warfare!

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