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Agreement between Grand Action 2.0 and the Convention Arena Authority on the amphitheater is an agreement between those who run Grand Rapids

February 5, 2023

On Friday, it was reported by at least two local news sources that a formal agreement has been made between Grand Action 2.0 and the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority (CAA).

The agreement in question has to do with Grand Action 2.0’s push for an outdoor amphitheater in Grand Rapids, which the Convention/Arena Authority will operate once the amphitheater is operational in 2025, according to MLive.

In both the MLive article and a news story on WOODTV8, the primary source cited is Kara Wood, who is the executive director of Grand Action 2.0. However, both news sources failed to mention that Kara Wood used to be the Economic Development Director for the City of Grand Rapids. Woods was hired to be the ED of Grand Action 2.0 last year and has a history of supporting projects that involve the DeVos family, such as Start Garden being on the payroll of the City of Grand Rapids to promote more business development in Grand Rapids. GRIID received this information from Kara Wood when she was working for the City of Grand Rapids in 2016.

Both news stories mention that this is a public/private partnership, which means that lots of public money will be used in the process of developing the amphitheater, without public input, as we have reported on since 2020 in the article here:

DeVos controlled Amphitheater Project using public money will be voted on at the February 9th Grand Rapids City Commission meeting 

How is it that we allow groups like Grand Action 2.0 to get away with the shit they do?

Millions for an Amphitheater, while tens of thousands in Grand Rapids face poverty, eviction and structural racism

DeVos-led Amphitheater Project will likely receive $30 Million in State public money, with no public input 

The coverage also mentions that there will be plans to further develop the Market Ave corridor where the amphitheater will be located, which also means that certain developers, businesses and members of the Grand Rapids Power Structure will be the primary beneficiaries. The DeVos family is the primary driver in this project, and they do engage in such projects by making sure that plenty of public dollars will be used for development and construction. After the Market Ave corridor is fully developed, the public will not share in the profits that the DeVos family and other members of the Grand Rapids Power Structure will pocket. This is how neoliberal capitalism works – get the public to pay up front, while the private sector reaps all the profits. 

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