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July 2013


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Green Gala 2013 - August 22

After Work Tree Maintenance -Hillcrest - July 11

Parks Alive: Westown Commons - July 24

Citizen Forester Workshop: Urban Forestry & Tree Advocacy - July 27

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Standing on Shoulders


Archive tours reveal a rich legacy of Grand Rapids parks

Last month, the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks' Board of Directors and several committee members participated in two unique guided tours of the Grand Rapids Public Museum Archives and Grand Rapid Public Library to learn more about the history of our incredible park system. Both tours uncovered artifacts and articles that date back prior to the development of our current park system. 

What was clear during both tours is that we would not have the parks system we enjoy today without leaders and citizen groups that prioritized park acquisition, fought for additional recreation space for all residents, and gave of their own resources to make it possible.

Park Facts:

  • Many capable park leaders and advocates come from the Parks and Boulevard Association (1903). Foremost among these was Charles Garfield who donated the first plot of park land in 1906

  • The Board of Education created the first playground at Congress School in 1902

  • Grand Rapids parks experienced a boom in the first decade of the 20th century with the passing of a $200,000 bond issue for acquiring parkland, doubling park acreage in the city

  • It wasn't until 1938 that the City and Board of Education teamed up to create an official public recreation board, wherein parks hosted planned activities

Great parks make a great city! (for the long haul)

Thank You!


What an amazing month of great volunteers and park enthusiasts coming out to support our public spaces!

  • Fill-up Fuller Tree Planting

  • Coca-Cola group at Richmond

  • Foremost/Farmers Insurance at Aberdeen

  • Americorps Schools of Hope at Richmond

  • Fair Haven Ministries Youth Group

  • Parks Alive at Coit

  • Parks Alive at Cheseboro

  • Bridge Street House of Prayer at Lincoln

 If you want to volunteer, set up a neighborhood Parks Alive Leadership (PALs) for your local park,  or sponsor park improvements, please contact our Project Coordinator.

Featured Event


Green Gala 2013 - August 22nd, 2013

Tickets: $75 until August 20th, $85 at the door

Buy Tickets

The 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, local music, and Michigan
beverages while enjoying the beauty of the Grand River and Fish Ladder Park.

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

- Delicious locally-sourced food during the peak of Michigan’s harvest season
- 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 in a great location on the Grand River 

2013 Sponsors: (to date)

Emerald City Lead Sponsor:

The Wege Foundation

Forest Sponsor:

Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge
Plante Moran

Pine Sponsor:


Fern Sponsors:

Scott & Emily Brew
Feyen Zylstra
Frey Foundation
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Rockford Construction
Open Systems Technology

Mint Sponsors:

Brian & Becky Swem
Macatawa Bank
Consumers Energy
Williams Kitchen & Bath
J.C. Huizenga
Founders Bank & Trust 


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