A circle of sustainability benefits Cherry Park

Rapid Growth Media

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Thanks to $10,000 in art sales and the kindness of a nearby socially responsible restaurant, a 100-year-old park in the East Hills neighborhood is now cleaned up and ready for summer.  

Located inside the Green Well Gastro Pub, the Off Center Gallery and its artists commit to donating 10 percent of all art sales to Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and sustaining local parks and public spaces.

A dozen artists have shown their work in the gallery since it opened in early 2011. With $1,000 raised so far, the Green Well matched this amount in May, making a total donation of $2,000 to Friends of Grand Rapids Parks. General Manager Douglas Berg says his restaurant will continue this partnership by matching the 10 percent donation amount every three months when the gallery changes artists.

Cherry Park is located a few blocks down the street and is a historic part of the neighborhood. The Green Well requested that its donations stay in the East Hills community and go toward the restoration and improvement of this cherished local park.

“Cherry Park is our park,” says Berg.

On May 21, he and 35 Green Well employees put their community pride into action and spent the day cleaning and restoring Cherry Park. The restaurant closed its doors and volunteered at the park one day last spring as well.

Berg says it’s “great to see the camaraderie and effect on the community,” adding that many of the neighbors came in and thanked the staff afterward.

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks Executive Director Steve Faber is glad Berg didn’t simply hand him a check and walk away. Instead, Berg and his staff made the park “look cared for in a short amount of time.”

“Without the Green Well and other volunteers, the park wouldn’t look like it does,” says Faber.

In addition to cleaning up the park, Green Well employees were asked to fill out a park report card. This gives Friends of Grand Rapids Parks a baseline of the condition of the park and helps develop future improvement plans and a vision for Cherry Park.

Next time you’re in the East Hills neighborhood, take a stroll through Cherry Park. Afterward, savor a meal prepared with local foods at the Green Well. While you’re there, view the Off Center Gallery art. And if you see something you like, buy it and enjoy the satisfaction of completing a full circle of sustainability.

Here are some other ways you can get involved:
–    Visit the Green Well Gastro Pub online and in person at 924 Cherry Street Southeast.
–    Fill out an application to show your art at the Off Center Gallery.
–    Visit the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks website.
–    Donate to Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.
–    Like the Green Well on Facebook.
–    Like the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks on Facebook.
–    Follow @thegreenwell on Twitter.
–    Follow @friendsGRparks on Twitter.

Douglas Berg, General Manager at the Green Well Gastro Pub
Steve Faber, Executive Director at Friends of Grand Rapids Parks

Writer: Heidi Stukkie, Do Good Editor

Photos provided by Clark Communications

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