Last Chance Mile: The Reinvention of an American Community

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Abbott Press, Jul 25, 2012 - Business & Economics - 186 pages
Like many other cities in the United States, Grand Rapids, Michigan has struggled with redeveloping its economic identity after the devastation of the Great Recession of 2008. Last Chance Mile: The Reinvention of an American Community demonstrates how Grand Rapids has been redefined as a hub for the greatest scientific minds in the world by developing what has come to be called the Medical Mile.
The Medical Mile is a cluster of prosperity that is anchored by a world-renowned research institute, a major healthcare organization, a Big Ten medical school, an allied health professions program at a nearby university, and an entrepreneurial incubator where new medical device and life sciences businesses are being born. None of this existed until a $1 billion donation from Jay Van Andel changed not only the way the world views Grand Rapids, but how the community views itself.
It has been a long journey of self-discovery for Grand Rapids that could serve as inspiration for other American communities.
 

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Contents

Building the Vision
1
Invention of an American Community
9
The Furniture City is Born
14
The Foundation
21
Creating the Cluster
27
The Anchor
34
The Hero
40
The Parkinsons Partnership
47
Growing Doctors
89
Tearing Down Fences
97
Where Dreams Begin
105
Four Feet of Bench Space
114
A New Money Model
122
Leadership Needed
130
Medical Mile or Mecca?
137
Rattling the Cage
145

Cancer and Children on the Mile
57
The Marriage
65
Independent and Proud
74
A MiniMile
82
The Decade That Made the Difference
152
Afterword
162
Some final notes
167
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Rod Kackley is a print and electronic journalist who was born and raised in Metro Detroit, but has lived and worked in Grand Rapids since 1990 as news director for WOOD-AM-FM, reporter/anchor for WCUZ-AM/FM, and managing editor for MiBiz, a regional business publication, along with writing for Crain’s Detroit Business.

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