About the Grand Rapids Firefighter’s Hall
The Grand Rapids Firefighters proudly joined the International Association of Firefighters in 1933. We are one of the oldest Unions in Michigan and are officially called the I.A.F.F Local 366. As people know, the is a deep tradition of unity and camaraderie in Firefighting. In which one example is how it culminated into the desire to own our own facility.
In 1975, We had an active group who through sponsoring a local Bingo night at a rented facility on the south side of town to help finance a “Union Hall”. We soon had the funds necessary to make the dream a reality. Firefighter Robert J. Card was the force behind this, and through his hard work, a Board was appointed to start the necessary work to form a non-profit Corporation which was, and still is known as the Grand Rapids Firefighters Building Corporation. The founding Officers/Directors were Frank Siemion- President, Robert Card, Vice President, Curtis T. Smith- Secretary and Ken Vandyke- Treasurer. The remaining Directors were David Vanderwall, Mel Faber, and David Tiesma. The Incorporation Date was August 20,1979. Later in September they toured several Buildings, and made our First offer on 1930 Fuller N.E. but due to what was a tight money market at the time, were unable to pull things together. Through persistence and incredible diligence, they were able to achieve ownership January 1 1980.
There currently is a 7 person Board, with one appointed as a Local 366 representative. Directors are elected by the Body to a 3 year term, and run their own internal election for Officers. There is an appointed Hall Manager who the years has become the first contact of our Facility to all that desire to use it for their functions.
While the Basic building outline as not changed much over the years, the use of the space has changed dramatically. Our own area consists of 3 offices that provide space for the Building Corporation, the Between Alarms/Historian and the Local 366 Offices. We have a large banquet facility that can be increased to nearly 300 in capacity or into 2 smaller spaces by virtue of a sliding partition wall. Our Hall has been the central location for Retirement Dinner Dances, The annual Building Corporation Meeting/Party, Fun filled Christmas and Holiday Parties, but has also been host to events where we’ve mourned the loss of our own.
We have Four additional Rental spaces in our Building and have had very good occupancies and have been fortunate to be at full occupancy for some time now. In 2006, we entered into a Land Lease Deal with the Walgreens Corporation who built on what was the vacant parking area to the far north. Virtually all proceeds from this income has been given back to improve the facility or to benefit certain groups of retires. We have been and still currently assist the pre 1989 retirees and/or spouses who do not receive any insurance supplement.
You can download a PDF of the Hall Floorplan here.