A historic building at Veterans Memorial Park, located at 22 Sheldon Ave. NE, in Grand Rapids, will soon be home to a new veteran-focussed center. The City of Grand Rapids announced the groundbreaking earlier this week, coinciding with the Veterans Day annual federal holiday, this Friday, Nov. 11.
Plans for the building include a new nonprofit-run coffee shop, “Has Heart,” and a veteran-focused creative organization. The project is funded in partnership with the City of Grand Rapids’ Parks and Recreation department and other private philanthropic funds. Madcap Coffee is serving as supplier and consultant for the coffee shop project.
“Has Heart,” a Michigan-based nonprofit, was founded by Navy Seabee veteran Michael Hyacinthe and designer Tyler Way. With a mission to bring their communities together through the power of art, design and fashion, the coffee shop will provide a space for veterans to have therapeutic, creative outlets by working with local creatives. The goal is to create a better channel of communication with the civilian population for veterans’ stories to be shared and understood.
The proposed coffee shop will have indoor and outdoor seating, a cafe, retail space and art display area. The shop will employ veterans and their spouses and display collaborative designs, specialty products, and artwork created by partnered veterans and designers.
“Art helped to raise awareness about the struggles of veterans at a time when we were mourning the loss of local Marine CPL Daane DeBoer,” Michael Hyacinthe, HAS HEART cofounder and Navy Seabee veteran said. “Our hope is that the HAS HEART coffee shop can continue to foster healing through the transcendental power of art.”
“We are honored to support the Has Heart mission in such a fitting space,” said Parks and Recreation Director David Marquardt.
“Parks are where we create meaningful connections with our community, and we look forward to the connections that will happen over a cup of coffee and shared art in this important public space,” Marquardt said.
The total cost of the renovation is $895,000. Sixty-five percent of the project is City-required historic work funded by capital improvement funds and parks millage funds. The remainder of the project, including furnishing the coffee shop and retail space, is funded by privately raised funds through HAS HEART. Donation opportunities for the HAS HEART coffee shop are still available here.
Construction is expected to be complete by June 2023. The design team is Ghafari Associates and the construction team is Pride Builders Group.