Here’s what Grand Rapids’ Pleasant Park assessment ‘experiment’ will buy

MLIVE – GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Matt Vande Bunte

The proposed Pleasant Park is in line for another $204,500 in funding now that the City Commission on Tuesday, Jan. 22, unanimously approved a special assessment on about 400 properties.

The money – along with a $300,000 state grant, $112,240 in federal money and $114,160 from undetermined public or private sources – will help pay for a parking lot at Madison Avenue and Pleasant Street SE to become a park. Property owners within 750 feet of the park site will be assessed $500 over 10 years, at 7 percent interest.

Here’s a sampling of what that money will help buy (costs are city estimates):

  • $65,530 for removing 77,400 square feet of asphalt as well as concrete driveways, fencing, two existing light poles and 500 cubic yards of soil
  • $256,270 in general park improvements including earthwork, curb and gutter, sidewalk, water and sewer service and irrigation. Among the line items: $77,000 for 11 “historic style light poles,” $73,850 for fencing and fence columns, $19,200 for 16 benches, $6,000 for 12 bike racks, $4,800 for six trash cans.
  • $52,998 in landscaping
  • $71,466 for a main entrance featuring a $20,000 “ornamental steel arch entry sign,” four benches, 800 square-feet of brick paving and a 70-foot long masonry wall
  • $104,820 in playground costs including $65,000 in equipment
  • $68,500 in consulting fees, $32,979 in city engineering charges and $78,337 in construction contingency


Residents of the Heritage Hill and South Hill neighborhoods that surround the planned $730,900 Pleasant Park expressed overwhelming support for the assessment at two recent hearings. Also, 73 percent of residents who responded to a city survey support the assessment, though more people did not submit a response.

Grand Rapids officials see the special assessment as a way to fund parks and other neighborhood projects without spending from the public purse.

“It has great hope for our future, not just for parks but for any way we need to engage citizens for solving a problem in their neighborhood,” City Manager Greg Sundstrom said. “This is all a grand experiment. It’s too early to declare a victory. We’ll see if we can build it and maintain it and people actually come.”

RELATED: Grand Rapids announcing myGRcitypoints contest to benefit city parks

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