Millage for Grand Rapids’ Parks Headed to November Ballot

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Whether you’re at Cherry, Lincoln or any other Grand Rapids neighborhood park, Mark Miller said upgrades are needed.

He’s the chair of Neighbors for Parks, Pools, and Playgrounds (NP3).

“We’re talking about strategically looking at each of the parks within the neighborhoods, letting the neighborhoods sort of begin to define some of those parameters with what’s going to happen in the parks,” Miller explained.

“We’ve got courts that will need to be upgraded,” he said as an example. He said the gamut for improvements runs from park benches to water infrastructure. That’s includes the pools at Briggs, King, and Richmond Park.

According to Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, the parks operating fund has continued to drop over the past several years. In 2006, the city said the parks fund was about 9 to 10 million dollars. In 2013’s budget, it sits at 3.5 million dollars.

Miller said the new millage his group proposed to city commission to place on the November ballot will raise roughly 4 million dollars over a 7 year period.

It’s obviously a cost to taxpayers. The cost is roughly $44 per household, per year.

“And I think it’s an investment. We have to start making investments in our city infrastructure, and in this case we’re talking about parks and it’s an important investment,” Miller said.

He added, “We realize that it is, it is a tax. But it’s the kind of tax that can really make improvements to our city and it affects everyone, and especially children.”

“So if you can have a great park in a neighborhood that makes that neighborhood better. You start having great neighborhoods, you have a great city,” he said.

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