Mobile GR puts $100,000 into ArtPrize 2.0 despite needing millions in ARPA funds

Mobile GR puts 0,000 into ArtPrize 2.0 despite needing millions in ARPA funds

The city of Grand Rapids has now put about $200,000 into ArtPrize 2.0. This move comes as the city, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Kendall College and Ferris State University take over the big event.

Mobile GR offered $50,000 in cash and $50,000 in-kind services to continue the popular city event. The services in kind mean the blocking of meters and discounts of barriers. The director says this is happening to support city events.

All this comes as Mobile GR also received millions of dollars in US Rescue Plan funds due to lost revenue.

“$50,000 has been the average cash contribution for at least the last three or four years,” Mobile GR Director Josh Naramore told FOX17.

On Tuesday night, the city commission gave the green light for Mobile GR to put $100,000 toward ArtPrize 2.0.

“If you go back and look, historically, we’ve given about $50,000. In some years, we’ve given more than that for my entire tenure with the city,” Naramore added.

The new version of a major event for the city is still in development. Many people who spoke at the commission meeting told leaders and community members the money could be better spent.

“So if we’re going to start, you know, nickel and dime money through Mobile GR, let it be hiring people to go out and make our city safe, and start moving some of these cars,” Libby said.

FOX17 first told you in February that the city was shifting millions of ARPA dollars to Mobile GR.

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“We have about $5.8 million allocated to the parking services for GR Mobile,” Grand Rapids CFO Molly Clarin told FOX17 in February.

The reason for obtaining the allocated federal aid funds, the city says, is because of lost revenue and to cover capital projects.

“A good example is that costs have risen dramatically. So prime An excellent perfect project example that many people will see is that we worked on replacing elevators and our facilities,” added Naramore.

Naramore told FOX17 his department has improved since then.

“The fund looks very healthy overall and continues to near pre-pandemic levels,” added Naramore.

The city also put $100,000 in cash into the event from the Office of Special Events.

“It’s really great for us to be inducted as part of any of these special events, we give cash contributions to a number of cultural events and special events throughout the year,” Naramore said. “It’s a great way for us to get some of our messages, related to things like safety, out to other special events, and also to make people better understand how to navigate the parking system.”

In city documents, the city and Mobile GR add that they do intend to seek ARPA funds to be reimbursed. The city staff also wrote that they need to look for a better alternative to manage the expenses.

As for ArtPrize 2.0, it is scheduled for September 14 to October 1.

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