from the Board
|'Yes' for Grand Rapids Parks Proposal a Win
Editorial by Friends of Grand Rapids Parks Board of Directors
Appeared in Grand Rapids Press, Oct 27, 2013
5th there is an important
vote in Grand Rapids. On that day, the
citizens of Grand Rapids can choose to dedicate funds to be set aside, only to
be spent on neighborhood parks, pools, and playgrounds. Those
needed as our park system is in need of significant reinvestment. Right now 91% of current City parks are rated
a "C" for maintenance (on a scale of A-D) and it is projected that
50% of parks will fall to a "D" without additional resources to
repair and make improvements.
As the board of Friends of Grand
Rapids Parks, we have witnessed the thousands of residents from across
who have volunteered to help our parks; painting buildings, planting
weeding playgrounds, repairing broken benches, picking up trash, and
playground surfacing over the past few years. The
philanthropic community has also contributed immensely to
keep the city’s public pools open and stepped forward with funding to
their concerns about city green spaces. People care about parks, but
there is a
lot more that needs to be done.
There is a generation of kids growing
up in our city today that only know broken playground
equipment, weedy baseball
fields, missing tennis nets, uneven turf fields, cracked basketball
closed pools. They won’t have the same stories when they get
older about playing
baseball at Lincoln, ice skating at Richmond, cooling off at the wading
Wilcox, or playing pick-up games of basketball at MLK.
have helped create a vision
for the future of parks in our city including, the Mayor's
Commission on Parks in 2007, Green Grand Rapids in 2009, the Parks and
Recreation Master Plan in 2010, and numerous
neighborhood planning efforts. The
community has rallied in the past several years to volunteer in parks,
money to save the pools, and donate to purchase new equipment. Citizen
engagement is a key element of creating great parks, and dedicated
parks is a critical next step to developing parks we can all be proud
of in all
November 5th, citizens
in Grand Rapids will have the opportunity to vote to keep parks, pools,
playgrounds from experiencing more cuts, and keep them moving in a
direction. Let’s use the partnerships, energy, creative problem
and neighborhood initiative that has helped us weather a decade of
parks to begin rebuilding, reinvesting, and leveraging new resources.
of Grand Rapids Parks
The Yes! GR Parks Campaign is in need of volunteers to help
day between now and Nov 5th.
Visit www.yesgrparks.com to volunteer or donate.
Here are some additional resources if you
want more background information on this ballot measure.
Ballot Frequently Asked Questions -
City of Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids Parks Statement on the Yes! GR Parks campaign
|| As the park and tree planting
volunteer season comes to a close, we want to thank everyone that
helped out this year. Special thanks to our partner, the City of GR Parks, Recreation, and Forestry for all
their help again this year.
Just because the snow is ready to fly, doesn't mean there aren't ways
you can still help. Contact Kyle
VanStrien for winter volunteer opportunities.
Night Conversations at the GRAM: a tree grows in Grand Rapids - Parks
as a Catalyst for Successful Urban Planning
As part of the Grand Rapids Art Museum's Masterpieces of American
Landscape Painting exhibition, Steve Faber, Executive Director of Friends of Grand
Rapids Parks, and Patricia Houser PhD, GVSU Planning and Geography,
will present on the history of parks in Grand Rapids, how perceptions
of landscape have influenced park design, and a look at current and
future trends in parks and urban planning.
ABOUT: Masterpieces of American Landscape Painting 1820–1950
"Painters have responded to America’s scenery in different ways,
influenced by current events, technological advancements, and artistic
traditions. This exhibition of 48 paintings from the outstanding
collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston provides an overview of
the history of landscape painting in the United States and intriguing
views of the country’s natural beauty. While the exhibition focuses on
historical views of the American landscape, it also offers an
opportunity to consider how we can protect and preserve it for future
See how great artists have
celebrated the beauty of nature
and captured its essential role in the American experience."