City Looking To Improve Parks In Downtown Grand Rapids

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The City of Grand Rapids Planning Department was part of a meeting Saturday afternoon at Grand Rapids Community College, to get input for the public on the revitalizing of two parks in downtown, Veterans Park and Monument Park.

“Some of the parks date back to 1800, they’ve changed over time. They are showing their age, if you go out there you can see where they are getting tired ,” Jay Steffen, with the Planning Department said.

Michael Burri is with the Kent County United Veterans Council. When he heard about the potential improvements to the park, he was excited.

“There are approximately 1564 total names on those monuments and a lot of family history,” Burri said.

In a potential plan for Veterans Park, they will move all the monuments around, creating more of an oval shape. Burri thinks this will make it easier for people to walk around the park and reflect.

“I see so many people on our monument, they go up and touch that name and the contact is just hard to explain,” Burri said.

Right now, they are only looking for suggestions from the public for the layout of the parks. The city hopes they can start creating a phasing plan in March and start the remodeling process sometime at the end of next year.

“The city has grown over the years and so the opportunity to go to a park space is becoming a hot commodity. There is a lot of asphalt and concrete in the city and so the opportunity to go to this green space is wonderful for the residence as well,” Steffens said.

The Downtown Development Authority has set aside some money to help pay for this project. The city is also utilizing a Brownfield tax credit that will payout over the next 7 years.

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