Grand Rapids details improvements coming to 15 city parks

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — From kayak launches to separate play areas for big and small dogs, Grand Rapids parks officials on Tuesday outlined improvements either already underway or coming to 15 city parks.

The 15 parks with upcoming improvements are preceded by six others that saw upgrades completed this year and 16 more slated for community input on design over this winter, Parks Director David Marquardt told city commissioners Tuesday morning, Dec. 1.

The upcoming and completed projects were mostly funded by the city’s seven-year parks millage, with a great deal of help from grants and other funding sources. Voters last year approved replacing the millage, which expires this year, with a permanent one beginning in 2021.

Once all current and upcoming projects are completed, the 2013 millage will have helped fund 83 park improvement projects since it began. The total millage investment for these projects has been $22.8 million, with another $17 million coming from outside sources like grants, organizations and fundraising.

“Guided by the investment policies initiated by this body and the Parks Advisory Committee, we continue to be good stewards of the millage dollars approved by our residents,” Marquardt said in a statement. “The extra funding that we have secured from our federal and state partners have really stretched our residents’ tax dollars and allowed us to improve our parks much more than we could have without that that support.”

Related: Grand Rapids’ Rosa Parks Circle to undergo $2M restoration

Here’s a breakdown of the 15 park improvement projects either underway or soon to be, as provided by the city:

  • Aman Park (0-1859 Lake Michigan Drive NW) – Currently under construction. Improvements will include improved erosion control, new pedestrian bridge, entrance drive improvements and signage upgrades.
  • Bike Park Phase II (580 Kirtland St. SW) – Project bidding is expected to begin this winter. Improvements will include a new picnic shelter and building removal.
  • Burton Woods (2259 Everest Ave. SE) – Construction is expected to begin in spring 2021. Improvements will include improved entryways, new benches and litter receptacles, fence removal along the north and northeast portion of the property and a small natural play area.
  • Camelot Park (2230 Rowland Ave. SE) – Construction is expected to begin in spring 2021. Improvements will include a new splash pad partially funded by a $150,000 Community Development Block Grant.
  • Caulfield Park (1119 Caulfield Ave. SW) – Currently under construction. Improvements will include new lighting, drinking fountain, swing set and a custom bench designed by students at Cook Arts Center.
  • Roberto Clemente Park (546 Rumsey St. SW) – Currently under construction. Improvements will include a new gender-neutral restroom building, new picnic shelter, outdoor discovery play area, pathways with pedestrian lighting and green infrastructure improvements. Improvements are partially funded by a $242,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund and $300,000 from the City’s Environmental Services Department.
  • Covell Dog Park (526 Covell Ave. NW) – Construction is expected to begin in spring 2021. Improvements will include separate areas for small and large dogs, a new shade structure, new drinking fountain and new play components.
  • Eastern Park (820 Eastern Ave. NE) – Currently under construction. Improvements will include new pathways, new swing set, new basketball court, new benches and a new grill.
  • Ken-O-Sha Park (1353 Van Auken St. SE) – Currently under construction. Improvements will include a new nature-based playscape, new outdoor classroom and green infrastructure, pathway and trailhead upgrades. Improvements are partially funded by a $150,000 Great Urban Parks Campaign grant by the National Recreation and Park Association.
  • Kensington Park (902 Curve St. SW) – Currently under construction. Improvements will include an upgraded picnic area with tables and grills, improved athletic field drainage, improved playground and a new entrance pathway.
  • Pleasant Park (400 Pleasant St. SE) – Currently under construction. Improvements will include a new swing set and shade sails for the playground, new water spigot, entryway improvements and rain garden renovations.
  • Rosa Parks Circle (135 Monroe Center St. NW) – Construction is expected to start in spring 2021. Improvements will include upgraded and new seating, steps, granite, lighting, stage space, restrooms and landscaping. Fundraising to support these improvements is currently underway with support from the Ecliptic at Rosa Parks Circle Conservancy.
  • Richmond Park (1101 Richmond St. NW) – Currently under construction. Improvements will include new accessible path around the pond, stairs for the sledding hill, new trailhead signage and pool house entrance upgrades. Fundraising for future playground improvements is under way with support from the Mitten Foundation.
  • Riverside Park (2001 Monroe Ave. NE) – Construction expected to start in spring 2021. Improvements will include a new picnic shelter and restroom, new accessible kayak launch, upgrades to tables, grills and benches throughout the park and native plantings at the lagoon edge. Funding for the kayak launch is supported by a $150,000 Michigan Department of Natural Resources recreation passport grant.
  • Sigsbee Park (431 Benjamin Ave. SE) – Construction is expected to start in spring 2021. Improvements—in coordination with Grand Rapids Public Schools—will include a new nature-based play structure, new landscape beds with trees and bikeable landscape, and repainted plaza embankment.

City staff say projects at the following parks are slated for community design input this winter: Canal Park, Fish Ladder Park, Fourth Street Woods, Garfield Park (splash pad project), Heartside Park, Heritage Hill Park, Hillcrest Dog Park, Midtown Green, Martin Luther King Park (lodge improvements), Nagold Park, Paris Park, Pekich Park, Seymour Park, Sixth Street Park, Sweet Street Park and Veterans Memorial Park (building improvements).

The project at Ah-Nab-Awen Park is pending Grand River restoration efforts, and the one at Sullivan Field will seek community design input in 2021.

Park construction projects completed this year includes the skate park at 555 Monroe Ave. NW, a nature playscape and outdoor classroom at Plaster Creek Family Park, playground, court and field upgrades at Mackay-Jaycees Park and more.

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