GR hoping to make parks safer with new program

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The City of Grand Rapids is launching pilot programs in hopes of improving community safety after a rash of shootings throughout the city.

The programs will offer more recreational opportunities for children and teens, put an ambassador in four parks across the city, and create three community events at parks.

Grand Rapids developed the pilot programs after a recent shooting at Joe Taylor Park.

In a release, City Manager Mark Washington says officials want to improve the quality of life for Grand Rapids residents through “deliberate plans and intentional partnerships.”

“We believe we can positively activate our community and help reduce gun violence in our city through these community-based solutions,” the statement says.

The expanded recreational opportunities include the creation of a summer camp at Joe Taylor Park. It is free for Grand Rapids residents who register ahead of time by calling 616-456-3696 and will run Monday-Friday from mid-July to mid-August.

More information can be found on the city’s website.

Another program will add park ambassadors at Garfield, Highland, Joe Taylor and Martin Luther King parks. It will put two people at the park from 3-9 p.m. seven days a week from mid-July to the end of September.

Those ambassadors will be able to answer questions from visitors, clarify park rules, perform light maintenance like trash pickup and restroom upkeep, and be a presence at the parks. There will be a park ambassador tent will be added with information about City services.

Applications to become a park ambassador can be submitted online.

The final pilot program is creating three community events in Grand Rapids parks that will happen in late July or early August in Garfield, Highland, Riverside and Joe Taylor parks. Details will be released soon.

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  • steve

    This is great. The only problem is that the thugs of today will not take advantage of the programs in any way. The kids of today might be less apt to become thugs in the future, but I believe to expect short term results is, unfortunately, unrealistic.

  • lml25

    If anyone keeps tabs on these things,where large groups of gangs gather,there is often gunfire or stabbings.Many of the black on black murders are at barbeques,a park,a funeral or a party.Now we have the idea that a coordinated gathering will go smoothly.Lol.And this is a Mark Washington idea.It didn’t work in Dallas–where he’s from–Chicago,Detroit or anywhere.The murders never stop.This type of fantasy is what you get,as a solution,from a minority in power.The real solution is move ’em out–by bulldozer.Rebuild the city.People with long rap sheets shouldn’t be allowed to rent.etc etc etc.

  • Ron the unrighteous

    Maybe they could piggyback off president Trump… Make GR parks safe again! Or rename them din do nuffin safe zones.

  • J.B.

    ““They are not just gangs of kids anymore,” she said. “They are often the kinds of kids that are called super-predators. No conscience. No empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”
    Hillary Clinton. January 25, 1996
    They want ineffective solutions to problems that they created …It keeps people divided and voting for more of the same..
    And it works.
    Every time.

  • Rj

    No city officials should ever be hired who has not lived in the area, we now have Prosecutors who refuse to hold criminals accountable for their crimes, To many cities have adopted the strong city initiative and the promise program which allows criminals to continue to expand without consequences

    • Sillyoldme

      If you live inside or outside of City limits has no bearing on bad/criminal behavior. Having babies at 15, lack of discipline, lack of a second parent, entitlement, lack of education (one needs to go to yo class), an unwillingness to work and or get your hands dirty, etc., etc., etc., I could continue with the issues causing the problem.
      When those whom are guilty continue to point their fingers at everyone else and refuse to admit that THEY are the problem, the problem will only continue to fester.
      This is a bandaid to a paper cut that will not work. It’s only a succession, to now, putting City Employees willing to work for $12.00 an hour in harm’s way.

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