Heritage Hill Historic District is an older
neighborhood located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is
bound by Union Avenue, Crescent Street, Pleasant
Street to Lafayette Avenue, covering an area of approximately 3,500 acres. The
acres that make up Heritage Hill Historic District, is home to roughly 4,400
individuals with a median age of 29 years. These individuals live in either an
apartment complex, condominiums, or single to multi-story homes. Majority of
the buildings located
in this district were built
in the year, 1939. Although
these building are old, the quality of the exterior and interior are in good
condition due to the Historic Preservation Commission. According to the
Heritage Hill Association, this group was
established in 1973 with the goal to preserve
historic properties by providing appropriate maintenance to foster civic
beauty. While the district is
mostly made up of neighborhoods, there are many government
agencies, commercial establishments, educational facilities and religious
organizations that are available to the community.

Religion is essential for most individuals that reside
in the Heritage Hill Historic District; therefore, there are several churches
with 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 walking
distance. The churches provide many services for the community including
fundraisers for organizations, volunteer work and educational groups
for all ages.

Educational facilities are
scattered amongst this area of Grand Rapids allowing for
children and young adults to attend without traveling long distances. The
schools in this community promote extracurricular activities and programs
including, sports and educational clubs with the attempt to keep children active.
The school and library buildings are
aged, but the curriculum and teachers are up to date
on expectations that life and college requires.

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Hill has a variety of health services that offer different health concerns such
as: internal medicine, prenatal care, obstetrics, family planning, neurology,
orthopedics, pain management, dentistry, geriatrics, assistive care for the
blind, and mental health. Although a hospital is
not located within Heritage Hill boundaries, Saint Mary’s
Mercy Health, Spectrum Health Butterworth, and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital are
located closely nearby on the outskirts. The location
and variety of these health care services provide
residents easy access to meet their medical needs.

When it comes to
transportation, most of the population uses an automobile to get to where they
want to go. If someone does not have a car or does not want to drive, there is
the option of utilizing the well-maintained sidewalks and bike paths. This
allows pedestrians to travel safely on foot or bike. While roadways are wide
and in good condition, the other alternative is taking public transportation
such as a taxi or the Rapid. The Rapid is a public bus that travels to numerous
stops throughout Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Grandville, Wyoming, and Walker. This
public bus is affordable, safe and extremely
convenient for the population of Grand Rapids.

While assessing the boundaries
of Heritage Hill Historic District, the physical environment is very
clean and walkable depending on the seasonal climate. The traffic that passes
through this area is often
loud and continuous throughout the day and night. It is not unusual for residents
to wake up from sirens and noise of passing vehicles. Some
other audible sounds noted include: airplanes, trains, construction, dogs
barking and young adults chattering. Although, there is not a particular smell
of Heritage Hill, it is possible to smell exhaust from vehicles passing by.

Like any other community of
Grand Rapids, crime affects the district of Heritage Hills. Although
it is lower than other surrounding districts, the total crime reported for the
past three months was 89 incidents. According
to Spot Crime, 24 of those incidents were
related to arrest,
14 were assault, 3 were
caused by vandalism, 2 accounted for shootings, and 29
were “other” incidents. The 29 “other” incidents included: parole violation,
noise complaints, suicide attempts, domestic trouble, and suspicious

As I evaluate the district
of Heritage Hill, I am overall satisfied by the community strengths. These
strengths include the convenience to housing, health care services, schools,
churches, and public transportation. While every community has strengths, they also
have weaknesses. The weaknesses of this district would include, the extent of
crime as well as the amount of noise and air pollution from automobiles. The
specific weaknesses of this community can create an unhealthy environment for
individuals who reside here. The
amount of traffic that passes through releases air pollutants that can
potentially cause long term environmental and health problems, while the
continuous sounds of traffic and emergency vehicles can interrupt the sleep
cycle. Although this district has a lot to offer for individuals within the
average age population of 29, I would not recommend raising a family in this
location. In my opinion, the weaknesses of this district outweigh the


Heritage Hill Association the
Neighborhood Group of the Heritage Hill Historic District. (n.d.). Retrieved
January 10, 2018, from http://www.heritagehillweb.org/

Heritage Hill: Grand Rapids, Michigan.
(2017, December). Retrieved January 10, 2018, from https://www.planning.org/greatplaces/neighborhoods/2012/heritagehill.htm

SpotCrime Analytics for Heritage Hill,
Grand Rapids, MI. (2018). Retrieved January 10, 2018, from https://spotcrime.com/analytics/mi/grandrapids/heritagehill



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