GR Downtown Market up for Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence!

Downtown Market 3

The Biennial Accolade Honors Trans-formative Urban Development


The folks at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market are celebrating this week after The Bruner Foundation named the site as one of five national finalists for the 2015 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence. Since 1987, the foundation has sponsored the award to identify trans-formative urban places across America and celebrate their impact on the economic, social, and physical fabric of our cities.

Downtown Market Grand Rapids
Downtown Market Grand Rapids

According to Erin Cataldo, the announcement came as welcomed news after long application process. “To be considered for the award we had to submit a pretty extensive application process that required the involvement of quite a few people. So yes, this is great news for all of us here!”

As a finalist, Cataldo says the Downtown Market will be visited by the judging committee from the Bruner Foundation in the next several weeks to determine where the project places. The finalists will receive cash awards to support their projects: one Gold Medal recipient wins $50,000 and four Silver Medal recipients receive $10,000 each.  The Gold Medal winner will be announced in June. Pike Place Market in Seattle was the first RBA winner, and 73 places in 25 states have been recognized with the award since.

Downtown Market 3Regardless of either amount won, the funds will be used to benefit the Downtown Market Education Foundation Cataldo explains. “The Foundation exists to support culinary and nutrition education; training in entrepreneurship, food production and gardening; obesity prevention and other wellness issues and concerns. In addition, the Foundation supports access to, and the promotion of, fresh healthy foods for all, including disadvantaged families and children.”

The 2015 RBA finalists are:

GR's Downtown Market is open all year.
GR’s Downtown Market is open all year.

Falls Park on the Reedy – Greenville, SC: The renaissance of a 26-acre river corridor running through the heart of Greenville, restoring public access to the falls and greenspace and catalyzing adjacent downtown development. (Submitted by the City of Greenville.)

Grand Rapids Downtown Market – Grand Rapids, MI: A new downtown public space promoting local food producers and community events, entrepreneurship, and education about nutrition and healthy lifestyles. (Submitted by Grand Rapids Downtown Market.)

Miller’s Court – Baltimore, MD: The redevelopment of a vacant manufacturing building into an affordable and supportive living and working environment for public school teachers and education-focused nonprofits. (Submitted by Enterprise Community Investment, Inc.)

Quixote Village – Olympia, WA: A two-acre community of 30 tiny houses and a common building that provides permanent, supportive housing for chronically homeless adults. (Submitted by Panza.

Uptown District – Cleveland, OH: The vibrant redevelopment of a corridor linking art, educational and health care institutions with surrounding neighborhoods, creating lively outdoor gathering spaces, retail shops and restaurants, student and market-rate housing, and public transit connections. (Submitted by Case Western Reserve University.)

“The Rudy Bruner Award offers the opportunity to showcase innovative placemaking responses to the needs of American cities and communities,” says Simeon Bruner, founder of the award. “We want to advance discourse about making cities better, and seek outstanding examples to share with those who care about improving our urban environments. There are a surprising number of inventive projects out there, if you just look for them.”

Entries comprised completed projects in the continental United States. The finalists and Gold and Silver Medalists are selected by a nationwide committee of urban experts. The 2015 selection committee includes:

Rebecca Flora – AICP, LEED ND-BD+C, Sustainable Communities Practice Leader, Ecology & Environment, Chestertown, MD
Larry Kearns – AIA, CSA, LEED AP, Principal, Wheeler Kearns Architects, Chicago, IL
India Pierce Lee – Program Director, Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland, OH
Mia Lehrer – FASLA, President, Mia Lehrer + Associates, Los Angeles, CA
James Stockard – Lecturer in Housing, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA
Mark Stodola – Mayor, Little Rock, AR





Case studies of all past RBA winners are available online. 2015 winner case studies will be posted in 2016.