Friends of GR Parks, Uptown GR partner to build tables for social zones

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks will be repurposing pallets donated by Kamps Pallets to build 50 tables for the local Uptown area. Courtesy Friends of Grand Rapids Parks

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks is best known for planting trees with volunteers throughout Grand Rapids, but on Thursday, volunteers are working with wood for another purpose.

The organization known as “Friends” for short is hosting a build day Thursday to help local businesses gear up to operate outside in new social zones coming to the Uptown Grand Rapids area.

There is a shortage of outdoor tables throughout the country due to COVID-19, and on top of that, many restaurants do not have funds to purchase tables and chairs to outfit these new makeshift spaces, according to Friends.

In light of this, Uptown Grand Rapids and Friends are partnering to gather volunteers who found and donated resources to make outdoor tables.

“We are thrilled to partner with Friends to support our local businesses, utilize our parks and create new public amenities,” said Ingrid Miller, executive director of Uptown Grand Rapids. “Friends has been a reliable partner to engage volunteers and increase the tree canopy in our commercial districts. It is natural then to collaborate on this creative and innovative project.”

Friends will be repurposing pallets donated by Kamps Pallets to build 50 tables for the local Uptown area. Friends recruited longtime volunteer and Artisan Builders owner Tim Johnson to help create a design that would be easy to build. Orion Construction also will be sharing volunteers and supplies.

“Friends wanted to get involved because volunteers love projects that involve planting trees,” said Stephanie Adams, Friends executive director. “This is another way that trees (can) give back.”

Friends needs donations of 4-by-4 or 2-by-4 wood 30 inches or longer to help complete the 50 tables.

There also are skilled volunteer opportunities to help build the tables from 10 a.m. to noon and 2-4 p.m. Thursday at Wilcox Park with an additional build day from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Registration is required to keep volunteers to a limit of 10 or fewer due to COVID-19.

Friends is asking for people to provide their own hammer and cordless drill to help during the project.

All volunteers will receive a face mask, and Friends will predetermine and mark socially distanced work spots throughout the park for people to help build the tables.

Those interested in volunteering or donating wood can contact Friends at (616) 288-7209 or

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