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GR Splash pad reopens Friday with $420k worth of park improvements

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. --  The city of Grand Rapids is getting ready to unveil nearly half-a million dollars in improvements to one of the its parks.

"This is a huge opportunity for Aberdeen Park and the northeast side of the city," said Grand Rapids Park and Recreation director David Marquardt. "Historically there has always been a splash pad here within this park and over the years it has fallen out of compliance for state regulations and really the components were wearing down and becoming broken so this was really one of those priorities not only from the department standpoint that it needs upgrading with the 2013 Park Millage dollars but this was really high priority for neighbors and families that came out to our public outreach meetings and really expressed to us the importance of this feature in this park and for this part of the city.  And so we focused our attention on this park improvement project and on the splash pad."

After 10 months of redevelopment, city leaders will unveil the new and improved Aberdeen Park at 10 a.m. Friday.

The newly upgraded splash pad is said to be shaped like the state of Michigan with features like a cascading Grand River, a Petoskey stone, a black bear, and even a morel mushroom.

"The community was really prioritizing for us nature based playing, nature experiences and make sure we are connecting our kids and our children to the natural world and what that really means and learning about what that means as well and so this splash pad has incorporated some of those nature components and more importantly it has built in a little bit of history in a playful way about Michigan's history and the state of Michigan itself," Marquardt said. "So the splash pad is shaped like the lower peninsula of Michigan and within it we've got different water features that represent the various aspect of our incredible state."

The city spent a total of $420,000 on the project, which also added new benches, and wastebaskets to the park along with improvements to the restrooms.

The improvements were made possible by a parks millage approved by Grand Rapids voters back in 2013.

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