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Grand Rapids, Michigan Selects Accela Solution to Meet Customer Service Goals

Web-based application will enable the public to do business with the city via the Internet

Grand Rapids, Mich. (April 15, 2009) Grand Rapids, Michigan has selected Accela Automation® from Accela, Inc. to support its Neighborhood Improvement, Fire, Planning, Environmental Services, and Engineering departments with an integrated e-government permitting and inspection solution that will help them meet their goals to build great neighborhoods, enhance quality of life for citizens, and provide the highest level of customer service.

Grand Rapids is upgrading to the Web-based system from a legacy Accela product. With the new solution, the public will be able to do business with the city via the Intranet, and the city will have the ability to more effectively track and manage processes related to the approximately 10,000 building, trade, and site permits it handles per year and improve response to 20,000 various property maintenance complaints it receives annually. Staff across all departments will share access to a centralized database of land use information, helping streamline key functions and operations and ensuring faster and more accurate delivery of services to customers.

“Our goals for this system are improved customer service, increased staff productivity, and a system that is sustainable into the future,” said Philip Schaafsma, information systems coordinator for Grand Rapids. “A key challenge is to meet customer expectations for self-service and ready access to information while department budgets continue to decline. A second challenge is to coordinate the efforts of multiple departments through a shared land management system.”

“Grand Rapids’ upgrade to Accela Automation signals great things ahead for its citizens and development community,” said Maury Blackman, Accela’s president and CEO. “We applaud the city for recognizing the enormous potential of utilizing the best technology available to deliver the best customer service possible and spur economic vitality.”

Grand Rapids also selected additional Accela applications that will enhance the functionality of Accela Automation to enable sharing of GIS information, empower field staff to work more efficiently in conducting inspections, and provide residents online access to services.

Accela GIS™ seamlessly integrates with Accela Automation to provide powerful real-time visual analysis to enhance land use, zoning, and infrastructure data. It allows creation of multiple map layers, automated map analysis, parcel and asset inventory management, direct editing of GIS data or files, and auto-distribution of information to mailing lists. It is built on ESRI® technology.

Accela Wireless™ is a mobile government software application that allows government staff to perform their jobs from the field for inspections, code enforcement, work orders, and service requests. Optimized for Intel Centrino® Mobile Technology, Accela Wireless is compatible with PDAs, laptops, and Tablet PCs running on the Microsoft Pocket PC 2003, Windows Mobile 5, Windows 2000, or Windows XP operating systems.

Accela Citizen Access™ provides real-time, direct access via the Internet to agency permit and land management activities. Online permit applications can be configured to allow citizens and businesses access to apply and pay for permits, schedule inspections, check the status of a permit or inspection, or print an approved permit directly from the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Grand Rapids is the county seat of Kent County in western Michigan. It is the second largest city in the state, covering 45.3 square miles and home to a population of approximately 195,000 residents. Other jurisdictions in the state using Accela solutions include Detroit, Livingston County, Macomb County, Novi, Sterling Heights, and Washtenaw County. For more information about Grand Rapids, please visit

Media Contact

Gabe Graham

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