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From the Blog

Grand Rapids Thrives


From a dying city to being seen by over a million people worldwide Grand Rapids is back. On Sunday may 22, 2011 Grand Rapids produced its first ever LipDub video breaking a world record. The residents of the city came out to support Rob Bliss in his efforts to prove to Newsweek that Grand Rapids was not a dying city. In January Newsweek ran an article “America’s Dying Cities” identifying the top ten cities that had the largest decrease of residents under the age of 18 reported on the 2010 census. Of those ten cities three of them found in Michigan, Grand Rapids appeared as the tenth dying city in America.

There are several reasons that can be attributed to the decline of younger residents in Grand Rapids from years past. Many people are not marrying at as young of an age, which leads to a gap in the birth rate. Some couples are waiting to have children later in their relationships due to economic conditions. The final reason and most publicized would be due to our states economic condition. Many people are believed to be moving out of state in order to find jobs and raise their families.

The nearly 10 minutes long video was filmed in one continuous shot, with 5000 Grand Rapids participants lip singing to Don McLean’s “American Pie” made this LipDub video a huge hit on YouTube. 24 hours after the video was posted it became the ninth most watched video on YouTube! The LipDub was no free walk in the park though. In order to get everything that was needed to produce, film, edit and post the video came to $40,000. With an economy like ours do we really have that much money to throw into a video? Well all the money came from donators in and around the Grand Rapids area. To see a full list of sponsors and watch the full LipDub watch this video.

Whether or not the LipDub proved that Grand Rapids is not a dying city is up for debate but the video did catch the attention of Newsweek and many others. Newsweek responded to the Lipdub video saying this “First off, we LOVE your YouTube LipDub. We’re big fans, and are inspired by your love of the city you call home. But so you know what was up with the list you’re responding to, we want you to know it was done by a website called mainstreet.com — not by Newsweek (it was unfortunately picked up on the Newsweek web site as part of a content sharing deal) — and it uses a methodology that our current editorial team doesn’t endorse and wouldn’t have employed. It certainly doesn’t reflect our view of Grand Rapids.” So for now you can see that Grand Rapids is here and isn’t planning on going anywhere.

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