Popular Grand Rapids park still waiting for improvements

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Huff Park in northeast Grand Rapids still isn't what it used to be. Its boardwalk is still waiting for a face-lift that was supposed to come this spring.

The city of Grand Rapids says delays arose while waiting for a permit from the Department of Environmental Quality. The city needed a permit to build the new boardwalk since it sits on wetlands. Now that they have that permit, they can start taking bids from contractors and plan to start construction this fall.

The current boardwalk was built around 25 years ago, and has broken and missing ties and deck pieces. Officially, it's no longer open for use.

"I think the condition of the boardwalk has been pretty rough for awhile," said Karie Enriquez, Project Manager at the Grand Rapids Parks Department. "I know we've had it officially closed for the past year and a half."

The new boardwalk -- along with other park improvements the city has in the works -- will cost around $1.5 million.

"There are old railroad ties with a decking system that are there now, and so we're removing all of those and then putting in an elevated boardwalk system," said Enriquez. "So it's a good length of boardwalk and it's a lot of labor involved. So it's pretty expensive."

The new boardwalk should be completed sometime in the spring of 2018. In the meantime, city officials have this warning: The current boardwalk is unsafe, and people must stay off until construction of the new one is complete.

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