GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Big improvements are underway for several Grand Rapids parks. On Thursday, crews broke ground on two locations which will look a lot different in just a few months.
All of this is possible because of the 2013 millage dedicating nearly $30 million to the parks system over the next seven years. It was a substantial investment that some city officials say will bring new life to these neighborhoods.
Six parks in total will be worked on this summer. The first two are Campau Park and Dickinson Park.
"We're going to be removing the old pool and coming in with a brand new water splash pad where kids can have some longer season water play in the park," said Parks and Recreation Director David Marquardt. "We're coming in with some new playground equipment, new park seating, new walkways, lots of new amenities to really make this park much more friendly for the community."
The new amenities were chosen thanks to input from the people who will be using them.
"The design and the improvements that are going to be made, those decisions were made from a lot of input from the neighborhoods, so the design that you see in all six parks are ones that were created by the neighbors," said Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. "I think that is really exciting."
Eight parks were updated last year, including Campau Park, Camelot Park, Douglas Park, Dickinson Park, Mary Waters Park and Mulick Park.
"When you invest in parks, you invest in neighborhoods, and you create this space where families can come together, where children can get outside and play. And we know that is crucial to social development and emotional development," said Bliss.
"The reinvigoration of this park space as we see across the city brings new life to the neighborhoods, brings new activity and really begins to bring new investment," said Marquardt. "Those are all very good things from a housing standpoint and from a business standpoint."
Weather permitting, the work on the six park projects should be completed by the fall.