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 August 2014


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Cutting the Ribbon on Pleasant Park

  The City of Grand Rapids, State of Michigan Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Heritage Hill Association, South Hill Association and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks all came together on July 31st to celebrate the opening of Pleasant Park. ribbon cutting photosThis brand new 2.4 acre park at 400 Pleasant, complete with pathways, sledding hill and common green, replaces an asphalt parking lot in an area of the city deficient in green space. Park design includes sustainable elements of unitary playground surface, LED lighting, and a rain garden.  Later this fall, trees and additional plantings will be planted with the help of volunteers to add the finishing touches to this amazing new neighborhood asset.

Pleasant Park is the result of a consensus-based park concept plan developed through a neighborhood design charrette in 2010. The park is located in an area of the city determined to be severely underserved for access to green space according to the Green Grand Rapids Master Plan. Funding for the project was provided through a combination of sources, including grants from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, Federal Community Development Block Grant Program, Dyer-Ives Foundation and VanderWeide Family Foundation; creation of a neighborhood Special Assessment District; and private contributions and sponsorships raised by Heritage Hill Neighborhood Association, South Hill Neighborhood Association, and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks. FGRP also added additional funds to the Parks Maintenance and Improvement Fund at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation to assist with ongoing park maintenance.

Special Thanks to our Citizen Foresters

We love our Citizen Foresters. Not only have they become indispensable in leading some of the projects that we have completed, but they have also become invaluable resources within their own communities – where their expertise is most needed.citizen forester outing

Understanding the value of our Citizen Foresters, we decided to show our thanks through Friends’ first-ever Citizen Forester Appreciation outing. On July 22, 11 Citizen Foresters and their guests joined us at Meijer Gardens for a picnic and a private tour led by Greg Afman, Japanese Gardens Lead Horticulturalist.

We were very thankful to secure Greg, to lead our group on an hour-long tour. Greg started by taking us to Meijer Gardens rarely displayed bonsai collection. On hot days, these trees receive water three times a day! Of interesting note, some bonsai artists purposely develop defects on their trees such as missing bark, dead branches, or deformed roots. These traits are desirable as they help the tree appear more “natural.” This is in deep contrast to the work completed by our Citizen Foresters who are often trying to prevent defects in trees.

After looking at the tiny trees, the group wandered over to the in-progress construction of the Japanese Gardens. Greg highlighted the work that will be required to maintain the gardens. Some trees will receive pruning twice a year or more. Definitely a more intensive landscape than you might find in your yard. Regardless, rest assured the gardens will be incredibly beautiful when they open in 2015.

(read more about this outing and how you can get involved as a Citizen Forester)

Featured Event: Green Gala 2014

Gree Gala

Plante Moran/Christman Bldg & Fishladder Park

$75 until August 20th, $85 at the door and join our event page on Facebook

Thank you to our amazing 2014 Sponsors!

2014 Sponsors

Forest Sponsors:

Christman Company
Orion Construction
Plante Moran
Smith, Haughey, Rice & Roegge

Pine Sponsors:

CWD Real Estate
Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.
Wolverine Gas & Oil
Fern Sponsors:

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Hyde Creative
Open Systems Technologies
Spectrum Health

Mint Sponsors:

Consumers Energy
Experience Grand Rapids
Founders Bank & Trust
Grand Rapids Public Schools
Griffin Properties
Miller Johnson
Rockford Construction
Milt & Barb Rohwer
Brian & Becky Swem
Williams Kitchen & Bath

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks invites you to be part of the greenest bash of the season!
greengala2014The Green Gala is a one-of-a-kind fundraiser advancing the work of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks to protect, enhance, and expand our city’s parks and public spaces. Guests will experience live music, locally-sourced food, signature green cocktails, and Michigan beverages while enjoying the beauty of the Grand River and Fish Ladder Park. 

Green Gala Recycling StationThe Green Gala has pioneered a new era of green events that produce less waste, repurpose materials, and offset negative impacts on the environment. The event earned an A++ rating from Organicycle’s Zero Waste Composting evaluation.

Green Gala Photo WallHIGHLIGHTS
- Delicious locally-sourced food during the peak of Michigan’s harvest season from The Starving Artist.
- Custom photo booth to capture your Green Gala memories
- Be the first to hear about new initiatives to make our parks more fun and inviting
- Meet and mingle with the people working to green our city and public spaces
- Unique raffle items you won't find at other events
- Great music from Fauxgrass and Cabildo on the banks of the Grand River and join our event page on Facebook

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