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City Commission Public Hearing for Final Adoption of Green Grand Rapids

The City Commission will be holding a public hearing on the final adoption of the Green Grand Rapids document on Tuesday, November 29th at 7pm in the City Commission chambers, 9th floor of City Hall

As one of the Green Grand Rapids’ community champions, Friends has been actively working toward the Parks and Recreation goals set forth in the plan since the conclusion of the planning process 2 years ago. We plan to be at the City Commission meeting, along with the other champions, to inform the Commission about the progress we’ve made, highlight the continued importance of this work, and remind them of the need to support our community’s vision for a truly green Grand Rapids.  We encourage to join us for this public hearing to hear more about the progress and lend your support to this important effort.

If you are not familiar with Green Grand Rapids, the final plan can be viewed online and we’ve included the plan’s Objectives and Strategies related to parks below.

Green Grand Rapids Final Draft


Objective EOL 6
Protect existing parks and open spaces, and
support the acquisition and development of
new parks, giving special consideration to areas
in the city with acreage distribution deficits.

a. Adopt a policy requiring deed restrictions
guaranteeing the preservation of important open
spaces and/or trail connections in considering
the sale/transfer of any existing park land or other
City-owned property.

b. Provide an “accessible” park with a playground
within walking distance (1/4 mile) of all residents
of every neighborhood.

• Map accessibility barriers.
• Identify/prioritize areas with deficits.
• With neighborhood involvement, identify
opportunities for adding park space where
needed, including partnerships/joint use, as the
basis for seeking funding assistance.
• Acquire properties in under-served areas where
opportunities are presented; give priority to
higher density, lower income areas.

c. Continue to cooperate with the public schools to
provide joint park-school facilities.

• Update the park-school agreement.
• Identify/monitor proposed school closures/
property sales.
• Seek funding and/or partnerships for acquisitions
where needed to maintain “accessible” acreage.

d. Coordinate park acquisitions with the Ecological Framework plan’s identification of high value natural resource areas to protect, buffer and connect.

Objective EOL 7
Maintain existing parks and managed open
spaces in safe, clean and attractive condition.

a. Establish maintenance priorities that balance cost
effectiveness and quality.

• Work with neighborhood/business organizations
to inventory/prioritize maintenance needs.
• Seek funding and partnerships to supplement
existing budgets.
• Establish maintenance endowments for new
• Use more native landscaping to reduce
• Identify priority locations for restrooms
and drinking fountains, and strategies for
• Consider transfer of Aman Park to Ottawa

b. Maintain publicly owned vacant lots in park like condition or make them available as community gardens.

• Re-evaluate City policies to allow the sale or lease
of City-owned and tax foreclosed properties for
use as community gardens.

Objective EOL 8
Foster awareness, use and stewardship of public
parks and open spaces.
a. Better market and advertise the park system.

• Provide maps, brochures and other information. Make the community more aware of the economic value of parks and open spaces.

b. Hold more special events to attract park users and
build support for the parks.

c. Seek involvement of community groups/
organizations in helping to maintain parks and
open spaces.

• Assist the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks (FGRP)
in coordinating volunteer efforts.

Objective EOL 9
Develop parks, trails and managed open space
to become models of sustainable design.
a. Use sustainable design principles in developing/
redeveloping all park sites.

• Protect valuable natural resources.
• Expand native landscapes.
• Protect/expand the tree canopy.
• Minimize impervious area.
• Use LID stormwater management practices.
• Use locally sourced and/or recycled content

b. Use parks as demonstration and education sites
for green practices to promote environmental

c. Identify opportunities for joint park-stormwater
management projects.

Design parks and provide recreation
programming in response to community/
neighborhood needs and preferences.

a. Seek grant funding to implement the concept
plans (prepared with community input) for Joe
Taylor, Pleasant, Ball-Perkins and Butterworth
Landfill Parks.

b. Give priority to funding multi-purpose parks
(as opposed to specialized parks) that provide a
diversity of user activities.

c. Support expanded recreational programming for
residents of all ages.

• Focus on health and fitness for children, youth
and seniors.
• Meet the growing demand for walking and
cycling trails.
• Encourage multiple uses of public buildings for
recreational programming.

Objective EOL 11
Identify a range of “one-time” and sustainable
strategies for funding the acquisition,
development and maintenance of parks and
open spaces.

a. Continue to investigate opportunities for
partnerships for the provision of recreation
facilities and programs.

• Work with FGRP.
• Work with churches, schools, sports teams and
other recreation providers.
• Seek corporate sponsorships.
• Pursue adopt-a-park agreements.
• Consider tax credit for park contributions.
• Investigate youth participation in park
• Investigate pros/cons of using parks for
fundraising events.

b. Evaluate the feasibility of establishing dedicated
revenue sources to support parks and recreation
(for example user fees or a parks – or broader green
initiatives – millage).

c. Consider the cost reduction and revenue
generating benefits of the sale, lease or transfer of
City-owned park and cemetery property.

• Establish conditions and criteria.
• Consider transfer of Aman Park to Ottawa

d. Re-evaluate existing requirements/incentives for
private sector provision of useable, public open

• Focus on Downtown and the riverfront.

e. Aggressively pursue state and federal funding

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