Note: We’re pretty excited about the two-day tour of Grand Rapids on April 19 and 20. In the coming days, this blog will highlight each of the Van Andel Millennial Board’s destinations and talk a little bit about what we’re hoping to accomplish/learn at each stop.
Today: Meeting with Mayor George Heartwell
Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell serves as more than just a top government official for Michigan’s second largest city. He’s an advocate on a national level for the region, its waterways and green initiatives.
Early last year, Heartwell made headlines when he was one of a few select mayors to be invited to the White House. During the visit, Heartwell was photographed talking with the President, advocating for funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It was just the latest in his work to support the waterways of Michigan. In 2008, he presented a similar question via video to Republican Presidential hopefuls who were taking part in a CNN-televised debate:
Heartwell has led numerous “green” initiatives during his time as mayor of Grand Rapids, called “America’s Greenest City” by Fast Company in 2008. His bio lists several of the initiatives that the city has undertaken to reach this level of recognition, including “implanting a variety of environmental measures including (the) purchase of renewable resource energy, use of alternative fuels in City vehicles, continued attention to water quality in the Grand River and widespread implementation of energy conservation measures.”
The millennial board looks forward to hearing from the mayor on numerous items, including waterways, the city’s innovative “MyGRCity” points program, attempts to make streets more pedestrian-friendly, green initiatives, etc.