Friends of GR Parks hosting communitywide park cleanups


Friends of Grand Rapids Parks is partnering with the Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department to clean up public greenspaces.

The partners are hosting an event called It’s My Park Days, which has more than 30 cleanup projects on tap throughout the city from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 16 and 17, a few days prior to Earth Day, April 22.

Park ambassadors will lead volunteers in beautification activities such as picking up trash, spreading mulch and preparing flower beds for summer. 

“Our parks have seen record numbers of users this past year, and volunteer projects like It’s My Park Days bring neighbors together in celebration of these special, shared spaces,” said Stephanie Adams, Friends’ executive director.

The event’s name is inspired by the idea that these public green spaces belong to every member of the Grand Rapids community, and the knowledge that for many, the neighborhood park feels like an extension of home. Just as homes need spring cleaning, so do parks. 

While registration is not required to volunteer, community members should verify their desired park is participating.

It’s My Park Day projects are planned here:

  • Ah-Nab-Awen Park
  • Aman Park
  • Ball Perkins Park
  • Belknap Park
  • Briggs Park
  • Calder Plaza
  • Campau Park
  • Canal Park
  • Cherry Park
  • Clemente Park
  • Coit Park
  • Dickinson Buffer Park
  • Fish Ladder Park
  • Fuller Park
  • Garfield Park
  • Hastings Linear
  • Highland Park
  • Huff Park
  • Joe Taylor Park
  • Lookout Park
  • MacKay-Jaycees Park
  • Mary Waters Park
  • MLK Park
  • Monument Park
  • Mulick Park
  • Plaster Creek
  • Ted Rasberry Field
  • Reservoir Park
  • Riverside Park
  • Veterans Memorial Park
  • Wilcox Park

All of Grand Rapids’ West Side parks will be part of the annual Westside Community Cleanup, taking place in conjunction with It’s My Park Days, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 17. Through this event, residents join together to clean up not only the parks but also the neighborhoods of Grand Rapids’ West Side. Friends has teamed up with its organizers to connect volunteers with meaningful park cleanup initiatives for the West Side.

If anyone wants to help clean up a park not listed, Friends encourages people to grab a bag from home, jump in and help with trash pickup at a park near them on these days or any other day of the year. 

It’s My Park Days are kicking off Friends’ newly launched Adopt-A-Park program, which matches parks with passionate volunteers for year-round care. The program’s goal is to improve the accessibility, environmental impact and aesthetic of Grand Rapids’ parks and green spaces.

Parks can be adopted by anyone: individuals, community organizations, churches or businesses. Multiple volunteers can adopt the same park or choose a specific flower bed, cemetery, green space or trail to steward.

“Volunteers are a vital component of the operations and maintenance of the Grand Rapids park system. The time and effort given in projects like spring cleanups, beautification, tree trimming and spreading mulch all contribute to a welcoming and enjoyable experience for residents and visitors alike,” said Joe Sulak, superintendent of the Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department. 

Safety is the No. 1 priority for Friends and the city. In accordance with government guidelines for COVID-19, all participants are required to wear masks and keep a distance of 6 feet during the event. Masks, hand sanitizer, gloves and other safety equipment will be available for all volunteers.

People can find more information and register to volunteer online.

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks is an independent, citizen-led, nonprofit enterprise founded in 2008 with the mission to empower people to cultivate vibrant parks, green spaces and trees in the Grand Rapids community.

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