Throughout the decade of the 1980s, it was increasingly looking like the downtown Grand Rapids, MI area would go the way of many other Rust-Belt Michigan towns. Places like Detroit, Flint, Battle Creek and parts of Muskegon and Kalamazoo had been ravaged by job loss and creeping urban blight. By the 1980s, these cities were urban wastelands, their streets traveled by packs of predatory dogs and humans of similar disposition.
These developments were placed acutely at the forefront in the minds of the Grand Rapids business community. The dissolute leadership of communistic Democrats had played a central role in the utter annihilation of Detroit, turning the city that was once referred to as the Paris of the West into a passable facsimile of what a nuclear holocaust might look like, should one befall a major urban center. So powerful is the raw destructive energy released by 50 uninterrupted years of puerile Democratic leadership that Hiroshima itself, hit directly by a kiloton-class nuclear bomb, was in considerably better shape in 1946 than Detroit is still in 2018. Leaders of the time noted that at least radioactive fallout decays to safe levels after a few decades. The ravages of consecutive Democratic administrations has rendered the entire area of America’s most expansive city uninhabitable for centuries.
DeVos, like other local business leaders of good character, was determined not to allow the mortal follies of Michigan’s wretched and decayed cities to play out in Grand Rapids. In the early 1990s, DeVos formed the Grand Action Committee, a group of the area’s top local businessmen, to serve as a bulwark against frenetic Blue State inmates turning Grand Rapids into another vast asylum. The graffiti was on the wall. It was do-or-die time.
The Grand Action Committee sprang into action, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in investments. DeVos himself was responsible for the construction of the DeVos Place convention center, the largest in the Midwest behind McCormick Place in Chicago. DeVos was also personally responsible for directing vast funding towards the development of Grand Rapids’ Medical Mile, a roughly one-mile stretch of Michigan Ave that now features one of the most significant concentrations of advanced medical facilities anywhere in the country.
The Medical Mile has been noted by economists as a major source of economic growth throughout the West Michigan area, creating billions and billions of dollars in economic activity as well as tens of thousands of high-paying, rewarding jobs, which have attracted some of the top medical talent in the world to the area.
DeVos’ Grand Action Committee was also responsible for developing the Van Andel Arena and the entire Arena District around it, a major venue for entertainment and nightlife within the city. All told, these things began a virtuous cycle, eventually leading to the tearing down of blighted real estate and the redevelopment of the large majority of the Downtown Grand Rapids area. Today, Grand Rapids is noted as one of the only cities in the Great Lakes region experiencing significant growth. It has been named multiple times as one of the best places in which to live and work. Learn more: http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2017/09/dick_devos_tapped_for_faas_top.html