GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Thousands of people will get to enjoy a newly renovated park in their neighborhood, thanks to a millage approved by voters back in 2013.
Camelot, Dickinson Buffer, Douglas, and Mulick parks just saw the completion of a $2.5 million dollar renovation project.
"So we've got six new parks that we've opened up as a result of construction this summer, " says David Marquardt, Director of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department. "Mary Waters Park we opened up a little earlier this fall, Campau Park is still under construction; we'll be opening that up early in the spring. And the remaining four parks today are a part of this celebration as well."
The 2013 millage has helped a total of 32 Grand Rapids parks see renovations and upgrades so far, and more will see renovations in coming years.
"The funding is available," says Marquardt. "We've got roughly $3.8 million a year coming in in tax revenue for the parks millage. That money comes in usually around July 1st of every year, and then is available for that design and construction that following fiscal year."
In addition, $1.1 million in federal grant money is also helping with park improvements. Today's newly opened parks saw a variety of upgrades and renovations, including new benches, new walking paths, better lighting and playground improvements.
Nearby schools are also happy to see the improvements.
"Every year at the end of the school year we take a special trip to a park, and we normally go to a different one. But I think we'll be changing our venue now!" said Mandee Allen, a 5th Grade Teacher at Sibley Elementary
Ball Perkins, Aberdeen, Alexander and Bike parks are scheduled for renovations in 2017.