Meet your neighbors

In an effort to connect with our neighbors and to help them connect with one another, our team is working to collect neighbor stories.  Whether measuring time in the neighborhood in months or decades every neighbor has a story worth telling. As we listen to and share those stories we hope that our neighbors will form deeper connections as they share their experiences and hopes for their place in the neighborhood. 

  • dr. Bishop Walter Durham

    Dr. Bishop Walter Durham is a man of amazing insight. Having lost his sight 17 years ago, the result of exposure to Agent Orange and a diabetic condition, he is a neighbor aware of people around him and alert to their ongoing social and economic challenges. He currently lives on Thomas street and has lived and worked on the southeast side for the last 35 years after moving back to Grand Rapids in the early 80’s...  Click to read more!

  • James zwier

    What do you like about this neighborhood?

    I really enjoy Pleasant Park.  When I first lived here as a student it was a parking lot, so to see what it’s become is really great.  The cemetery is also a great place to go on a quiet walk. There are also a lot of great shops close by, Art of the Table, Cherry Hill Market, and others are great places to grab a snack or a bottle of wine.  Click here to read more.

  • Denise gilkey

    What are your best memories from living on this block?

    Oh yeah, the kids, growing up everybody played in the neighborhood.  All the neighbors looked out for everyone. And you knew everybody. You knew everybody and you knew everybody’s kids, at least in the 400 and 500 block.  As kids we had a radius too. We couldn’t just wander around. We had to be on the porch by the time the street light came on. And we did! And everybody followed rules.    Click here to read more!

  • elijah libbett

    Elijah Libbett is affectionately known as the Street Preacher on the southeast side of Grand Rapids. He is the Owner-Operator of Ellnora’s Kitchen located at 547 Eastern Avenue SE. The restaurant was named in honor of his late mother and has become a place of community conversations over some really good soul food.

  • Pastor larry weaver

    Larry Weaver is an Apostolic preacher with roots in Flint.  He was commissioned by his former bishop and sent to Grand Rapids to start a new church 38 years ago.  Coming from a city where the majority of residents were African-American, Pastor Weaver was initially surprised to find relative ethnic diversity within the Grand Rapids city limits.  This is a context that fits well with his open-door policy and invitational approach to the community.