How Grand Rapids will spend $940K in money from new parks tax

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Structural repairs to the boxing gym at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park are on a list of almost $1 million in work that’s up for city approval next week.

Using money from a new parks tax that voters approved last year, the Grand Rapids City Commission on Tuesday, Dec. 2, is expected to authorize building repairs in several parks. The city also will put in 40 new drinking fountains.

The Garfield Park gymnasium, Richmond Park bath house and Riverside Park band shell are in line for work, and restroom improvements are planned at Garfield, Lincoln, Mackay Jaycees, Plaster Creek and Riverside parks.

Pride Builders Group, LLC is the recommended contractor after placing a low bid of $592,000. Engineering and inspection costs and project contingency make up the rest of the $775,000 budget.

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The commission on Tuesday also plans to hire McDonald Plumbing Co. to install 40 drinking fountains in 28 different city parks: Aberdeen, Ah-Nab-Awen, Belknap, Briggs, Canal Street, Cherry, Clemente, Coit, Fish Ladder, Fuller, Garfield, Heartside, Highland, Huff, Kensington, Lincoln, Mackay Jaycees, Martin Luther King, Mary Waters, Mulick, Plaster Creek, Richmond, Riverside, Roosevelt, Rosa Parks Circle, Sixth Street, Sullivan Field and Westown Commons.

Grand Rapids will spend $165,000 from the parks tax on the fountains.

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The new parks tax generates about $4 million per year for city parks. Grand Rapids plans to spend large chunks of that next year upgrading eight parks. Friends of Grand Rapids Parks conducted neighborhood planning meetings this fall, and park designs from those meetings will be unveiled at an open house 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3, at Gerald R. Ford Middle School, 851 Madison Ave. SE.

In neighboring Wyoming, a public meeting is planned 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2, to brainstorm the future of the tornado-damaged Ideal Park.

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