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We Are Friends Spotlight on Bill Kirk

We Are Friends Spotlight on...

FGRP Board President Bill Kirk

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Q) Where did you grow up? 

A) I grew up on the southeast side of Grand Rapids in the Indian Village neighborhood. As a kid, we could walk up to Shawnee Park school to use the park and playground, and I’ll always fondly remember playing Little League at Jaycees Park and taking tennis lessons through Parks and Rec at MLK Jr. Park.

Q) How did you first become involved with FGRP? 

A) A great friend, colleague, and mentor of mine, Andy Guy, introduced me to the organization years ago near the beginning. He was the Board President at the time, and I was working at The Rapid. We started thinking about how transit and access to parks were connected and figuring out ways to work together; I started volunteering, and eventually he recruited me to join the Board of Directors, which was, and still is, a huge honor for me.

Q) What role do you think parks will have in downtown development? 

A) Parks and green space play an absolutely crucial role in Downtown development. As we continue to build density Downtown, it will be absolutely paramount that we pay attention to the importance of access to parks, green space, and nature. One specific, and massively important, connection between parks and Downtown development will be river restoration, access, and development. We have an enormous opportunity to be inclusive and innovative as the riverfront redevelops so that our entire community can access and enjoy the Grand River.

Q) What is one of your favorite FGRP events and why? 

A) There are too many to mention here, but the BBQ & Beautify series that FGRP launched this summer is fantastic. It encompasses so many of the values that FGRP is based on: volunteerism, neighborhood engagement, community connection, and perhaps most importantly, enjoying our beautiful parks in Grand Rapids.

Q) Fall is just around the corner and Grand Rapids will be more beautiful than ever. What are you looking forward to this fall?

A) There are two things I’m really excited about, one of which happens in a park, the other at the world’s best brewery: walking my dog, Snoop, at Riverside Park when the colors are changing, and drinking a Harvest Ale on the patio at Founders next to a fire pit.

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