The City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department has provided an annual update to City Commission on 36 recently completed, current, and upcoming park improvement projects. These projects will mark the final phase of the seven-year parks millage passed by Grand Rapids voters in 2013 and the beginning of a new evergreen parks millage passed in 2019. We have the details from their press release below.

David Marquardt, parks and recreation director, told the City Commission that this year’s $4.4 million millage investment was supplemented by $7.1 million of leveraged funding from external organizations and grants.

“The improvements made to our park system, guided by community input and the investment policies initiated by this body and the Parks Advisory Committee, have created meaningful and inspirational experiences for our residents,” Marquardt said. “With the passage of the evergreen millage, we’re excited to continue our work of being responsible stewards of these tax dollars.”

Marquardt outlined park construction completed in 2021 which includes:

  • Aman Park (1859 Lake Michigan Dr. NW) – Improvements include erosion control on the banks of Sand Creek, bridge replacement, and trailhead and signage enhancements.
  • Burton Woods (2259 Everest Ave. SE) – Improvements include enhanced entryways, new benches and litter receptacles, fence removal along the north and northeast portion of the property and a small natural play area.
  • Caulfield Park (1119 Caulfield Ave. SW) – Improvements include new lighting, drinking fountain, swing set, and a custom bench designed by students at Cook Arts Center.
  • Covell Dog Park (526 Covell Ave. NW) – Improvements include separate areas for small and large dogs, a new shade structure, new drinking fountain and new play components.
  • Eastern Park (820 Eastern Ave. NE) – Improvements include new pathways, swing set, basketball court, benches and grill.
  • Kensington Park (2401 Buchanan Ave. SW) – Improvements include new picnic areas with tables and grills, upgraded athletic field drainage, enhanced playground and new entrance pathway from Dorchester Ave.
  • Ken-O-Sha Park (1353 Van Auken St. SE) – Improvements include new nature-based playscape, outdoor classroom, pathway, trailhead upgrades and green infrastructure. Improvements are partially funded by a $150,000 Great Urban Parks Campaign grant by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).
  • Pleasant Park (400 Pleasant St. SE) – Improvements include a new swing set, shade sails for the playground and water spigot, entryway improvements and rain garden renovations.
  • Richmond Park (1101 Richmond St. NW) – Improvements include a new accessible path around the pond, stairs for the sledding hill, and pool house entrance upgrades. Fundraising for future playground improvements is under way with support from the Mitten Foundation.
  • Roberto Clemente Park (546 Rumsey St. SW) – Improvements include a new gender-neutral restroom building and picnic shelter, outdoor discovery play area, pathways with pedestrian lighting and green infrastructure. Improvements are partially funded by a $242,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund and $300,000 from the City’s Environmental Services Department.

Parks currently slated for or under construction for improvements include:

  • Fourth Street Woods (1341 4th St. NW) – Currently under construction. Improvements will include a new nature play space, enhanced playground entrances and new seating.
  • Garfield Park splash pad (2111 Madison Ave. SE) – Construction to begin early 2022. Improvements will include a new splash pad, picnic area with shade sails, restroom upgrades, accessible pathways, and a rain garden. Improvements are supported by a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund grant.
  • Heartside Park (301 Ionia Ave. SW) – Construction bidding begins this winter. Improvements will include all-season restroom facilities, a drinking fountain, sidewalk improvements and power pedestal for community events.
  • Heritage Hill Park (501 Paris Ave. SE) – Construction bidding begins this winter. Improvements will include pathway enhancements, a pollinator garden and seating.
  • Hillcrest Park (1415 Lyon St. NE) – Construction bidding begins this winter. Improvements will include new pathways and nature play area, and upgrades to the dog park.
  • Lyon Square (296 Lyon St. NE) – Construction to begin spring 2022. Improvements include pedestrian accessibility enhancements, seating, lighting and a river overlook.
  • Midtown Green (747 Fountain St. NE) – Construction bidding begins this winter. Improvements will include a nature play area, community gathering space, pollinator garden and seating.
  • Mulick Park (1632 Sylvan Ave. SE) – Community build happening spring 2022. Improvements include expanded playground in partnership with the Junior League of Grand Rapids and Sinclair Recreation.
  • Nagold Park (945 Nagold St. NW) – Currently under construction. Improvements will include a new pathway, seating and pollinator garden.
  • Ottawa Hills Park Fitness Court (2060 Oakfield Ave. SE) – Construction to begin spring 2022. Improvements will include a new multi-station outdoor fitness court partially funded by the National Fitness Campaign.
  • Ottawa Hills Park (2060 Oakfield Ave. SE) – Construction to begin late summer 2022. Improvements will include restroom building, repaved parking lot, enhanced landscaping and new seating, lighting and signage.
  • Paris Park (943 N Ottillia St. SE) – Construction bidding begins this winter. Improvements will include low maintenance planting bed with public art piece and new park sign.
  • Pekich Park (9 Cherry St. SW) – Construction bidding begins this winter. Improvements will include new seating, shade trees, drinking fountain with bottle filler, and power pedestal for community events.
  • Riverside Park (2001 Monroe Ave. NE) - Currently under construction. Improvements will include new restroom building and picnic shelter, accessible kayak launch, updated picnic tables, grills, and benches throughout the park, native plantings at lagoon edge.
  • Rosa Parks Circle (135 Monroe Center St. NW) – Currently under construction. Improvements will include stage upgrades, restroom enhancements, granite and wood benches, new trail surfacing, site amenities and interpretive signage.
  • Seymour Park (942 S Ottillia St. SE) – Construction bidding begins this winter. Improvements will include preserved open space with floating benches, ornamental trees and park sign.
  • Sweet Street Park (475 Sweet St. NE) – Construction begins early spring 2022. Improvements will include upgrades to playground, pathways, sports courts and seating.

The following parks have received community input and are slated for final design and construction in late 2022 or early 2023:

  • Camelot Park (2230 Rowland Ave. SE)
  • Grand River Edges Trail East
  • Plaster Creek Trail
  • Veterans Memorial Park - building improvements (101 Fulton St. E)

Marquardt detailed the following park projects slated for community design input through this winter:

  • Ball Perkins Park Phase 1 (1675 Perkins Ave. NE)
  • Canal Park (941 Monroe Ave. NW)
  • Highland Park (523 Grand Ave. NE)
  • Martin Luther King Park Lodge (900 Fuller Ave. SE)
  • Sixth Street Park (647 Monroe Ave. NW)

Remaining park projects to be funded from the 2013 parks millage include Ah-Nab-Awen Park (220 Front Ave. NW), which is pending amid Grand River restoration projects, and Calder Plaza (300 Monroe Ave. NW), which is on hold pending additional outside funding.

Upon completion of these projects, the 2013 parks millage will have funded a total of 84 park improvement projects across Grand Rapids, with each of the City’s 75 parks receiving upgrades. The total millage investment since 2014 is $27,260,019 with $24,048,277 additional leveraged funding.

The evergreen parks millage passed by Grand Rapids voters in 2019 will take effect in 2022. Marquardt said the priorities in the upcoming year for new millage funding include increased park maintenance levels of service, increased funding for community recreation programs, enhancement of pools and aquatics programs with continued park repairs and new amenities with capital funding.

Additional information on past, current and upcoming parks millage projects can be found HERE.

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