Community looks to rebuild Grand Rapids park deemed unsafe

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Sigsbee Park in Eastown has been ruled unsafe by the state for children to play, and facing it being torn down for good, a handful of collaborators are trying to rebuild.

"The playground equipment, as you can tell, it’s old, kind of falling apart," said Salina Bishop, manager of communications and grants at the Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation. "It's not safe for the students."

She's helping leading the fundraiser through the Michigan crowdfunding website called Patronicity to rebuild the park. They have to raise $29,500, and are aiming to raise the money in 30 days in order to be eligible for a matching grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

"The state will remove this regardless of whether we raise the money or not," Bishop said.

Sigsbee Park, like all Grand Rapids Public Schools' playgrounds, is part of a joint-use agreement between the schools and the city in which schoolyards are treated like a public park. John Helmholdt, spokesperson for GRPS, says the revitalization will not only benefit the children but help bring economic and environmental improvements to the surrounding neighborhood.

"This is going to improve quality of life, property values, and provide that opportunity for recreation and play," Helmholdt said. "This is a chance for GRPS to be part of that neighborhood."

Other agencies helping fund the project include Lake Michigan Credit Union, Eastown Community Foundation, & Carter's Kids.

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