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Legislation for Supporting Recovery, Investment and Vibrancy in Downtowns Passes Legislature

Legislation for Supporting Recovery, Investment and Vibrancy in Downtowns Passes Legislature

Governor Whitmer has signed House Bill 5062 and has been presented with House Bill 5090 for signature that will support the ongoing recovery in downtowns, important commercial corridors and neighborhood business districts.

This is a win for the hospitality industry that has been disproportionately impacted by the global pandemic. In 2020, the decisive action by the Legislature to pass legislation to support Social Districts, outdoor dining and more undoubtedly saved numerous Michigan restaurants.

The Grand Rapids Chamber is proud to have partnered with the City of Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. and to have led the advocacy of 12 other business groups and associations to get these bills over the finish line.

Read what each bill does below.

House Bill 5062 (Rep. Bolden) – Development District Licenses 

Downtown Development Districts and Corridor Improvement Districts have been vital tools in promoting investment in key areas. One important tool has been the redevelopment of district liquor licenses. These $20,000 licenses are available to businesses related to dining, entertainment and recreation who invest at least $75,000 in a qualified district. The interpretation that new builds do not qualify has created uncertainty from businesses who believed they would qualify for a license. It is a major impediment to businesses who are unable to afford a traditional license and is a barrier to investment in districts whose purpose is to promote new construction and rehabilitation. This bill clarifies that business spaces in new construction projects are eligible if they meet the requirements.

House Bill 5090 (Rep. Clements) – Social Districts & Special Events 

The bill eliminates the sunset on the local authority to establish Social Districts, authorizes local units to set operating hours of individual Social Districts and allows for special events to occur concurrently within a Social District commons area. These changes extend and improve upon the highly-successful Social Districts tool that has been used to increase vibrancy and activate business districts in municipalities across Michigan.

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