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Friends of Grand Rapids Parks Statement on the Neighbors for Parks, Pools, and Playgrounds (NP3)

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks officially endorses the Yes! GR Parks campaign.

Leading cities around the world invest in their public parks because these assets enrich much more than property values. They help improve citizen health and well-being, provide kids with places to play, build up civic pride, promote environmental stewardship, and improve quality of life, which is essential to attract residents, visitors, and employers.

Sadly, a decade of cost-cutting and budget stagnation in the City of Grand Rapids has resulted in historic under-funding of parks and deferral of basic investment in the parks, pools, and playgrounds that all Grand Rapidians use and value.

American cities on average annually invest $49 per capita in parks maintenance, improvement, and development. Grand Rapids now annually invests less than $19 per capita.

City staff in many ways performs better than we might expect given current funding levels. Importantly, the City has conducted in-depth parks department reviews to evaluate and improve efficiency, boost productivity, and eliminate waste. Bottom line: we will not cut our way any further to a better parks system. The major limitation is funding.

We as a community must identify and secure new revenue if we intend to offer a quality parks system. Without renewed financial commitment, we will continue to preside over the ongoing decline of our valuable parks system and the cost of maintenance and repairs will only grow larger.

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks is excited to work with the Neighbors for Parks, Pools and Playgrounds to ensure that their committee has the relevant and accurate information about our parks system necessary to advance the critical campaign for dedicated funding.

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