SummaryHeritageHill Historic District is an older neighborhood located in downtown GrandRapids, Michigan. It isbound by Union Avenue, Crescent Street, PleasantStreet to Lafayette Avenue, covering an area of approximately 3,500 acres.
Theacres that make up Heritage Hill Historic District, is home to roughly 4,400individuals with a median age of 29 years. These individuals live in either anapartment complex, condominiums, or single to multi-story homes. Majority ofthe buildings locatedin this district were builtin the year, 1939. Althoughthese building are old, the quality of the exterior and interior are in goodcondition due to the Historic Preservation Commission. According to theHeritage Hill Association, this group wasestablished in 1973 with the goal to preservehistoric properties by providing appropriate maintenance to foster civicbeauty.
While the district ismostly made up of neighborhoods, there are many governmentagencies, commercial establishments, educational facilities and religiousorganizations that are available to the community. Religion is essential for most individuals that residein the Heritage Hill Historic District; therefore, there are several churcheswith different denominations that are welcoming to anyone and everyone.Individuals in this district have the option to attend a Lutheran, Christian,Non-Denominational, Baptist or Catholic church all within short walkingdistance. The churches provide many services for the community includingfundraisers for organizations, volunteer work and educational groupsfor all ages. Educational facilities arealsoscattered amongst this area of Grand Rapids allowing forchildren and young adults to attend without traveling long distances. Theschools in this community promote extracurricular activities and programsincluding, sports and educational clubs with the attempt to keep children active.The school and library buildings arealsoaged, but the curriculum and teachers are up to dateon expectations that life and college requires. HeritageHill has a variety of health services that offer different health concerns suchas: internal medicine, prenatal care, obstetrics, family planning, neurology,orthopedics, pain management, dentistry, geriatrics, assistive care for theblind, and mental health.
Although a hospital isnot located within Heritage Hill boundaries, Saint Mary’sMercy Health, Spectrum Health Butterworth, and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital arelocated closely nearby on the outskirts. The locationand variety of these health care services provideresidents easy access to meet their medical needs. When it comes totransportation, most of the population uses an automobile to get to where theywant to go. If someone does not have a car or does not want to drive, there isthe option of utilizing the well-maintained sidewalks and bike paths. Thisallows pedestrians to travel safely on foot or bike. While roadways are wideand in good condition, the other alternative is taking public transportationsuch as a taxi or the Rapid. The Rapid is a public bus that travels to numerousstops throughout Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Grandville, Wyoming, and Walker. Thispublic bus is affordable, safe and extremelyconvenient for the population of Grand Rapids.
While assessing the boundariesof Heritage Hill Historic District, the physical environment is veryclean and walkable depending on the seasonal climate. The traffic that passesthrough this area is oftenveryloud and continuous throughout the day and night. It is not unusual for residentsto wake up from sirens and noise of passing vehicles. Someother audible sounds noted include: airplanes, trains, construction, dogsbarking and young adults chattering. Although, there is not a particular smellof Heritage Hill, it is possible to smell exhaust from vehicles passing by.
Like any other community ofGrand Rapids, crime affects the district of Heritage Hills. Althoughit is lower than other surrounding districts, the total crime reported for thepast three months was 89 incidents. Accordingto Spot Crime, 24 of those incidents wererelated to arrest,14 were assault, 3 werecaused by vandalism, 2 accounted for shootings, and 29were “other” incidents. The 29 “other” incidents included: parole violation,noise complaints, suicide attempts, domestic trouble, and suspiciousperson/vehicle.
As I evaluate the districtof Heritage Hill, I am overall satisfied by the community strengths. Thesestrengths include the convenience to housing, health care services, schools,churches, and public transportation. While every community has strengths, they alsohave weaknesses. The weaknesses of this district would include, the extent ofcrime as well as the amount of noise and air pollution from automobiles. Thespecific weaknesses of this community can create an unhealthy environment forindividuals who reside here. Theamount of traffic that passes through releases air pollutants that canpotentially cause long term environmental and health problems, while thecontinuous sounds of traffic and emergency vehicles can interrupt the sleepcycle.
Although this district has a lot to offer for individuals within theaverage age population of 29, I would not recommend raising a family in thislocation. In my opinion, the weaknesses of this district outweigh thestrengths. ReferencesHeritage Hill Association theNeighborhood Group of the Heritage Hill Historic District. (n.d.
). RetrievedJanuary 10, 2018, from http://www.heritagehillweb.
org/Heritage Hills Grand Rapids: HistoricHomes Steps from Downtown – Movoto. (2016, November). Retrieved January 10,2018, from https://www.movoto.com/guide/grand-rapids-mi/heritage-hill/heritage-hills-grand-rapids-historic-homes-steps-from-downtown/Heritage Hill: Grand Rapids, Michigan.(2017, December).
Retrieved January 10, 2018, from https://www.planning.org/greatplaces/neighborhoods/2012/heritagehill.htmSpotCrime Analytics for Heritage Hill,Grand Rapids, MI.
(2018). Retrieved January 10, 2018, from https://spotcrime.com/analytics/mi/grandrapids/heritagehill