Grand Rapids City Commission approves new social district for West Fulton

GRAND RAPIDS, me. – Grand Rapids’ newest social zone is coming soon to Fulton Street.

The city council on Tuesday approved the new West Fulton Social District on the 1100 block of Fulton Street W between Marion and Garfield NW Streets.

Scheduled to be operational for the next month, the district will allow Joey’s Tavern and Putt Putt’s Bar to sell alcohol in specially labeled cups within the boundaries of the social district.

Downtown Grand Rapids and Wealthy Street already have social districts set up to help restaurants and bars weather the economic hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Capacity constraints continue to affect these businesses, and even if the vaccination rate increases, the demand for al fresco dining is expected to remain high due to warmer weather and health concerns.

“Restaurants and bars, which have been instrumental in the vitality of downtown and neighborhood business districts, have been and continue to be severely impacted by the economic impact of COVID-19 security protocols,” said Lou Canfield, executive office chief of staff, during the city commission’s meeting on Tuesday. “As we’ve seen in the other two districts, increasing the availability of outdoor dining rooms will help this neighborhood business district recover from this pandemic.”

The West Fulton Business Association worked with the city to propose two seating areas in this district.

One will be set up along the street parking lot in front of McDonald’s at 1130 Fulton St. W and another small one along the street parking lot in front of Joey’s Tavern at 1125 Fulton St. W.

Cement barricades form the boundary between the two seating areas.

Officials say existing lanes will not be affected.

The city commission will review the status of the social district before December 31st to ensure the common areas are preserved and to review the impact of the social district on public health, safety and wellbeing in the neighborhood.

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