Grand Rapids City Parks

Over 130 mayors across the United States have launched a new campaign that aims to provide every resident a public park or green space within a 10 minute walk from their home. Included in that group of mayors is Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. 

“When you look at our city as a whole, and where we need green space and parks, what we find is that we need them in our poorest neighborhoods," Bliss said. "As we look at being environmentally sustainable, we also want to be thinking about environmental justice.”

State officials are seeking the public's help in preventing the spread of a disease that kills oak trees. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says April 15 marked the beginning of the yearly period when oak wilt can be transmitted from diseased to healthy red oaks.

Forest health program specialist Roger Mech says red oaks often die within a few weeks after becoming infected. He says the best prevention method is not to prune or otherwise "injure" oaks between April 15 and July 15.

The Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department unveiled their new Strategic Master Plan at the Grand Rapids Art Museum Thursday morning as park officials gave a sneak-peak into what the city’s parks will look like in the future. An expanded Grand River corridor, a more integrated trail system, and an increase in accessible neighborhood parks are part of the vision that the Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department sees as the city continues to expand and develop. 

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Grand Rapids marks the renovation of four parks with a grand reopening rollout. Organizers say Douglas, Dickinson, Mulick and Camelot parks officially reopen Thursday.

City and neighborhood leaders as well as students from adjacent schools are expected to participate in the morning tour, which starts at Douglas.

Construction and improvements total roughly $2.5 million and include picnic shelters, restrooms, playgrounds, walking paths, ball fields and benches.

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Plans are moving forward to make two downtown Grand Rapids parks more accessible and user-friendly.

The Grand Rapids Press reports design firms have expressed an interest in redesigning Calder Plaza, located between City Hall, the Kent County Administrative Building and the "La Grande Vitesse" sculpture by Alexander Calder.

The plaza was designed in the late 1960s and is a popular location for rallies and festivals, but it's been criticized for a lack of daily use.

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A deficit proposal has been approved for Grand Rapids parks funding after the costs of projects to-date came in higher than expected.

The fund had a deficit of about $1.3 million following projects completed through a special Grand Rapids parks millage approved by voters at the end of 2013. Further work was said to continue deficit funding.

Officials say that’s because construction and other costs came in higher than initially anticipated for renovations at the city’s first eight parks projects.

Six parks were up for renovations in this next year.

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Following the completion of renovations and improvements at eight city of Grand Rapids parks this past summer, six more receive facelifts in 2016.

The planning process for Dickinson, Camelot, Campau, Douglas, Mary Waters and Mulick parks moves forward this month with four public workshops.

Officials are seeking resident input, ideas and feedback on concepts and designs provided by two local firms.

Workshops will be held in the evenings this Tuesday and Wednesday, and next Monday, October 19.

Voter-approved tax brings park upgrades in Grand Rapids

Aug 21, 2015

A city tax in Grand Rapids is bringing a host of park improvements, including a new skate park.
 
The Grand Rapids Press reports Mayor George Heartwell and other leaders on Thursday are showing off the results of a $384,000 renovation of Westown Commons.
 
Grand Rapids voters in 2013 authorized a 7-year property tax that's generating about $4 million annually for parks. The renovation of Westown Commons includes the skate park, a picnic shelter, new landscaping, new sidewalk, benches, bike racks and a drinking fountain.