As several Grand Rapids parks received improvements in 2022, city officials look ahead to projects slated for 2023.
The city’s parks and recreation department recently provided its annual update on park improvement projects, this time highlighting progress on 43 completed, current or upcoming improvements.
David Marquardt, the city’s parks and recreation director, said during a city commission meeting this year’s $3.5 million parks millage investment was supplemented by $6.7 million in funding leveraged from external organizations and grants.
Mayor Rosalynn Bliss commended the work of the parks department and guidance from the parks advisory committee this year.
“The improvements made to our incredible park system, recommended by community input and the investment policies initiated by the city commission and the parks advisory committee, have created meaningful and inspirational experiences for our residents,” Mayor Bliss said. “As responsible stewards of our public spaces, the city is committed to continuing this work on transforming and developing quality parks throughout our community.”
Marquardt’s presentation during the meeting outlined a series of construction projects completed at city parks in 2022, including:
- Belknap Park (30 Coldbrook St. NE) — Improvements include six new pickleball courts, an expanded spectator area and professional stadium lighting in partnership with the Grand Rapids Pickleball Club.
- Briggs Park (350 Knapp St. NE) — Improvements include a new butterfly garden with native plantings and a hammock grove/public art installation in partnership with Lions and Rabbits and Creston Neighborhood Association.
- “Ecliptic” at Rosa Parks Circle (135 Monroe Center St. NW) — Improvements, made possible in partnership with the “Ecliptic” at Rosa Parks Circle Conservancy, include upgrades to the existing stage, replacement of the concrete rings with granite, replacement of the lighting and waste receptacles, renovations to the restroom building, new granite and wood benches, interpretive signage, upgraded trail surfacing, additional shade trees and a three-dimensional bronze plaque and sitemap.
- Fourth Street Woods (651 Valley Ave. NW) — Improvements include nature-based play features using recycled fallen trees, a new swing set, fencing and landscaping improvements, picnic areas, bike loops, and accessible entryways.
- Garfield Park (250 Burton St. SE) — Improvements include gym restroom renovations and a universally accessible splash pad with multiple spray features, shade sails, and a custom entryway that doubles as public art and picnic areas. The project is near completion, with finishing touches in spring 2023. Project partners include the Garfield Park Neighborhood Association, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and Meijer.
- Heartside Park (301 Ionia Ave. SW) — Improvements include a resurfaced basketball court with mural, all-season restroom facility (open spring 2023), new drinking fountain, sidewalk improvements and power pedestal for community events.
- Highland Park (700 College Ave. NE) — Improvements include a new temporary outdoor boulder wall created in partnership with Grand Rapids Boulder Project.
- Hillcrest Park (1309 Lyon St. NE) — Improvements include an expanded dog entryway and fenced off-leash area, wooded nature path, nature play for humans and dogs, bench seating, drinking fountain with dog bowl, accessible pathways, rain garden bike loops and a new sign (installation spring 2023).
- Mulick Park (1632 Sylvan Ave. SE) — Improvements include a community-built playground expansion in partnership with the Junior League of Grand Rapids, GameTime and Sinclair Recreation.
- Nagold Park (1001 Fourth St. NW) — Improvements include an accessible pathway connecting Fourth Street to Nagold Street, new benches, picnic tables, replaced fencing, a pollinator garden and a new park entry sign (installation spring 2023).
- Ottawa Hills Park (2060 Oakfield Ave. SE) — Improvements include an outdoor Fitness Court with seven different workout stations for multiple exercise combinations. The project was supported with funding from Priority Health, the National Fitness Campaign and Meijer.
- Paris Park (942 S Ottillia St. SE) — Improvements include bench seating, accessible pathways, ornamental trees, and a park sign/landscape bed (installation spring 2023).
- Plaster Creek Trail (Kroc Center path) — Improvements include new trail connections to the larger network in partnership with the city of Wyoming and the Michigan Department of Transportation.
- Pekich Park (2 Cherry St. SW) — Improvements include new seating, shade trees, drinking fountain with bottle filler and power pedestal for community events.
- Riverside Park (2001 Monroe Ave. NW) — Improvements include a new accessible kayak launch in the lagoon, new solar powered picnic shelter and refurbished restrooms, bike loops and a drinking fountain with dog bowl in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
- Seymour Park (943 N. Ottillia St. SE) — Improvements include a native plant bed, public art piece (future installation) and a park sign/landscape bed (installation spring 2023).
- Sweet Street Park (459 Sweet St. NW) — Improvements include a bench for sunset viewing, a new swing set, new and reconfigured playground areas, picnic tables, accessible pathways, landscaping improvements, bike loops and a new waste receptacle. The tennis and basketball courts were also improved in partnership with Grand Rapids Public Schools.
Construction will begin for the following parks in 2023:
- Ah-Nab-Awen Park (220 Front Ave. NW) — Improvements will include restored Indian mounds in partnership with the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians and the Downtown Development Authority, as well as new restroom facilities.
- Ball Perkins Park (1675 Perkins Ave. NE) — Improvements will include bike and pedestrian trail improvements and a new south parking lot off Plymouth Avenue NE. Bike trail improvements are in partnership with the West Michigan Mountain Bike Alliance.
- Camelot Park (2230 Rowland Ave. SE) — Improvements will include a new splash pad, restroom building, picnic shelter, drinking fountain, park sign and accessible pathways in partnership with the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program.
- Canal Park (941 Monroe Ave. NW) — Improvements will include playground renovations, trail improvements, new seating and additional site amenities.
- Grand River Edges Trail (Leonard Street to Ann Street) — Improvements will include a new multi-use trail along the east side of the river, connecting Leonard Street and Canal Park to Ann Street and Riverside Park. Project partnership include the state of Michigan, West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition, Downtown Development Authority and other private partners.
- Highland Park (700 College Ave. NE) — Improvements will include renovations to the parking lot and new multi-sport court facility.
- Lyon Square (296 Lyon St. NW) — Proposed improvements include flexible community gathering and event spaces, an improved river overlook, improved lighting and accessibility, and additional landscaping/garden space in partnership with the Downtown Development Authority and other private funders.
- Midtown Green (747 Fountain St. NE) — Improvements will include a new plaza space, drinking fountain, nature play and landscaping.
- Martin Luther King Park Lodge (1200 Martin Luther King Jr. St. SE) — Improvements will include a new lodge and pool locker rooms, updated parking lot, playground and fitness loop.
- Ottawa Hills Park (2060 Oakfield Ave. SE) — Improvements will include a new restroom building and resurfaced parking lot in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
- Plaster Creek Trail – Trail improvements and additional seating along the trail
- Plaza Roosevelt (650 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW) — New park space in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood near Southwest Middle High in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources
- Riverwalk (Blue Bridge to JW Marriott) — Proposed improvements include a new river trail and water access in partnership with the Downtown Development Authority.
- Sullivan Field (650 Valley Ave. NW) — Improvements will include upgrades to the baseball field, grandstands and supporting amenities in partnership with Fans of Valley Field.
- Veterans Park Building (22 Sheldon Ave. NE) — Restoration of the historic building to be used for the Has Heart Coffee Shop, which will provide a space for veterans to have therapeutic, creative outlets by working with local artists. Work will be in partnership with Has Heart, the Downtown Development Authority and other private funders.
Once these projects are complete, the parks millage will have funded 116 total improvement projects within the Grand Rapids region. According to the city, the total millage investment since 2014 is over $42.5 million with more than $30.6 million in additional leveraged funding.
Going forward, future park improvements will coincide with the department’s five-year strategic master plan and priorities.
Additional information is here.