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Chamber Applauds County on Ballot Proposal to Support Transformational Projects [Press Release]

Kent County, Mich. —  Today, the Grand Rapids Chamber applauds the Kent County Board of Commissioners for placing a question on the August ballot to increase the countywide lodging tax by 3% that can be used to support the amphitheater, soccer stadium and other future transformational projects.

If voters approve, the revenue stream will support the public financing components for these public-private partnerships without a general tax increase on residents.

The additional fees, collected from hotel room stays, will be paid for mostly by visitors from outside of Kent County. The 3% increase would put the County’s room tax rate in a comparable range to peer cities.

“Bringing these transformational projects to life is one of the Chamber’s top priorities and we the thank the Kent County Board of Commissioners for taking this critical step in making them a reality,” said Josh Lunger, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Grand Rapids Chamber. “These investments will support talent attraction and retention, bring more than $1 billion in net new economic activity and create hundreds of new jobs.”

“Imagine Grand Rapids without the DeVos Place and Van Andel Arena,” continued Lunger. “The benefits of those projects stretch far beyond their physical footprints and have led to over $11 billion in additional investment.”

“Supporting these new catalytic investments will drive the next generation of our region’s economic growth,” Lunger concluded.

The Chamber looks forward to supporting the ballot campaign, helping to educate the community on the proposal and seeing its passage on August 6.

Additional data:  

  • 86.6% of overnight visitors to Kent County come from outside of the Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek Metropolitan Statistical Area in 2022.
  • 9 million visitors stayed overnight in Kent County in 2022.
  • In 2023, hotel room sales in Kent County hit record highs, with 2.17 million rooms sold.
  • Between 73 and 80% of Ticketmaster sales for events at DeVos & Van Andel were purchased outside of Kent County in each quarter of 2023.
  • These new projects are entertainment amenities for all the residents of Kent County and West Michigan.

Sources: Longwoods International 2022 study, Experience Grand Rapids, Placer.ai data, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. 

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