Grand Rapids’ new normal

Photo by iStock

As I write this, Grand Rapids is not the bustling city I’ve come to know. Instead, COVID-19 has turned our city into a town where families are sequestered at home for the most part. None of us know when the stay-at-home order and social distancing recommendations will end. But our city is rising to the challenge. People are stepping up to help one another, whether it’s sharing a roll of now scarce toilet paper with a friend, donating money to a local food bank or trying to patronize small shops and restaurants through curbside orders.

My hope is that when this issue arrives in your mailboxes (or inbox) at the beginning of June, we will see a light at the end of the tunnel. We are looking forward to what’s ahead.

The June issue is a celebration of living in Grand Rapids. In our “Family living” feature, we spoke with three local dads about raising their kids in Grand Rapids and how their families enjoy the city. We also compiled a list of 15 family-friendly activities for you to enjoy this summer.

It’s important to remember, however, that while Grand Rapids offers many opportunities for families, there still is much inequality within our city. Not everyone is benefitting in the same way, and that needs to change. Only a few years ago, our city was ranked second to last on a Forbes list of “Cities Where African Americans are Doing the Best Economically.”

This weekend, we watched over 4,000 protestors gather downtown in solidarity with George Floyd and to remind our city leaders and residents systemic racism still permeates our society. Our city can do better, and it needs to do better. So, while I hope your family enjoys the activities we feature, I also hope families across our community continue to come together to improve the city for everyone.

Camping is a popular summer activity in Michigan, but if roughing it isn’t exactly your style, you can try glamping. The Fields in South Haven offers tents decked out with amenities so all you have to do is show up and enjoy your vacation. You also could try Camp Forever Fun, a weekend summer camp designed for adults. This summer camp experience is a great way to meet new friends the way you did as a kid, by having fun together over a variety of summer camp activities.

In this issue, we also look at our favorite takeout restaurants around town. While many of our restaurants have scrambled to transition to takeout only service, these restaurants have been winning the takeout game for a long time. Make sure to support them during this tough time.

Stay safe.

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