Our Mission: To advocate for and enhance the quality of life in the Belknap community.
Our Vision: To be a vibrant, diverse and desirable place to live in Grand Rapids.
Public Space Goals: Improving access down Belknap hill (design work is in the DDA budget for FY2020); Hastings Connector & Linear Park (implementation will be completed by the City of Grand Rapids in the summers of 2019 & 2020); Better Pedestrian Connections (the City’s MobileGR department is beginning to plan for durable crosswalks and adding more “stop for pedestrian” signs). Click here to see more pictures of these goals.
Additional Priorities: Other activities that we engage in during 2019 will help create and sustain social connections; getting neighbors active in the neighborhood; and having our voices heard in local government. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and join our email list to get invitations to these fun and meaningful events.
On this site, you can learn more about our past achievements and get inspired to join us in setting the stage for our neighborhood‘s future. We can accomplish more together than any of us could do alone. That’s why residents, property owners, and businesses in Belknap Lookout are automatically considered members of NOBL. You just have to provide contact information to be eligible to vote for board members at our November annual meeting at Coit Creative Arts Academy. We are a 501c3 nonprofit funded by the City of Grand Rapids Community Development Department to provide public safety and neighborhood leadership programming, which includes monitoring construction in the neighborhood. We also operate one unit of affordable housing. Archived meeting materials can be found on the board materials page. Board meetings take place at 6:30 pm on the second Tuesday of each month at our office (700 Clancy Ave NE) unless otherwise announced in our event postings and are open to the public. In November we typically hold our annual general membership meeting at Coit Creative Arts Academy. You can get in touch using the information in the footer or our contact page.
Elianna came to NOBL in 2017 with 7 years of nonprofit administration experience, accumulated through several positions at Feeding America West Michigan. Some of her favorite adventures living in Belknap during that time include gardening, sledding at Mary Waters Park, and more recently dog walking. She’s looking forward to becoming better acquainted with many more neighbors. You can learn more about her in an interview with our partners at New Development Corporation.
Loren Sturrus, Board Chair – I am a young professional living in the neighborhood with my wife and two dogs. I am also an attorney and own and rent a couple of properties in the area. I love living in the neighborhood and I am always interested in new projects focusing on urbanism, renewables, and the environment. I also enjoy yoga and racing pigeons.
Todd Leinberger, Board Vice Chair – I am excited to collectively navigate our future. I support the young people in our neighborhood and I considered it a privilege to play a role in bringing a day camp to Coit Creative Arts Academy for two summers. I have over 18 years of nonprofit leadership and management experience, and look forward to using it to better our neighborhood.
Dan Miller, Board Secretary – I would like to keep my neighbors apprised of what’s going on in the area (parking issues, development, crime, etc.) and, as I learn about these issues, to offer my own and my neighbors’ input.
Rob Kennedy, Board Treasurer – I’ve been a resident of the Belknap Lookout neighborhood for 2.5 years. My wife, Rebekah, and I bought a ‘project’ house and have been slowly remodeling our home over the last several months. My background includes 21 years of law enforcement as a Reserve Deputy and I’m currently employed as a Realtor for RE/MAX United.
Robin Benton, Board Member – I was born and raised in Grand Rapids and I returned to Michigan from Asheville, NC last year. My interest in serving on the Board for NOBL is a commitment to Community work. I am a Veteran of the Air Force, I am disabled. I return to Grand Rapids with experience in Community Organizing around Human Rights and Racial Equity issues. I am a member of Center for the Study of White American Culture. http://www.euroamerican.org/ I served on the US Human Rights CERD Task Force during the last Reporting Period. I participated in developing a Shadow Report for submission to the United Nations. I have been involved with the Peoples Institute training and organizing for 2 decades. https://www.pisab.org/. My Education background is in Business Administration and Labor Studies.
Brian Bremer, Board Member – I have been a resident and landlord in Belknap Lookout for 20 plus years. During that time I spent 10 years on the Board and served on many committees.
Loretta Klimaszewski, Board Member – The main goal I would like to achieve as a member of the NOBL board is the continued use of the lot at 762 North for the purpose of a community garden. I have previously served a full term on the NOBL board, participating in the lease and development of a community garden on North street. I have been a resident of the Belknap Community for thirty years. I was involved with the Michigan Education Association for over twenty years and completed an internship with the National Education Association.
Dean Rosendall, Board Member – Belknap is an area I care deeply about. I enjoy working in construction, sustainability, finance, and organizational/systems. My main occupation is with a Grand Rapids based commercial construction firm and I work to leverage that experience to assist NOBL when new construction projects are presented to our neighborhood. I believe as a neighborhood we can apply sustainable practices, and if we work for the greater good, we can create a fantastic place to live!
Jonathon Swets, Board Member - I’ve lived in the NOBL neighborhood for over 25 years. Although I am an educator with several degrees (AA, BA, MA, EdS, EdD) I also know how to roof a house, frame a house, paint a house, plant a garden, do cement flatwork and generally I get along with people who have dirty fingernails better than those with lots of money. I have no political affiliations other than I look for those who care about the poor. My friends are Latino, Black, White, Christian, Muslim, Agnostic and Atheist. We all share the philosophy that we need to help each other. When Jesus was asked what his favorite commandment he said, besides love God with all your heart, love your neighbor was as important. I see lots of opportunity for NOBL to do just that. Let’s help each other become better, happier, more secure and hopeful.