The Garfield Park Neighborhoods Association (GPNA) was recently approached by a business owner that is looking to rent his property on 2007 Division to Sacred Beginnings. This application is for special land use (SLU) from the Grand Rapids Planning Commission and a planning commission hearing is scheduled for July 9. The property owner that is seeking to rent the space to Sacred Beginnings recently approached the GPNA board seeking a letter of support to bring this organization and its services to Burton Heights. Below is the response from GPNA Board President, Hanna Schulze:

After discussion amongst board members and a walking/listening tour of neighborhood businesses on the corridor, GPNA has decided not to offer a letter of support at this time. While we do know that social services of this type can be beneficial to the neighborhood, and recognize your efforts in gathering support from the neighboring businesses and residents, we do not believe that we can, with the information provided, assert our support.

Discussions with business owners turned up mixed results when two of our board members approached them, with concerns around transparency of funding, whether the location will draw in more issues/increased police presence, and ward off potential retailers interested in the surrounding spaces.
The board also has concerns around the criminalization of sex workers, as compared to victims of trafficking.

Though we are declining to provide a letter of support, please know that, if this proposed use does get approved and you take possession of the space, we will be happy to work with you (as capacity allows) to work through these concerns and help the organization be as effective and transparent as possible.

Thank you for your time,
Hanna