An update on Riverside Park Improvements

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Community Journal Post Submitted by: Megan Kruis, Executive Director, Creston Neighborhood Association

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On September 30, 2019, staff of the City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department met with neighbors to present options for Riverside Park Improvements.  The presented options were based on feedback Parks staff received at a summer meeting and though an online survey.  

Top improvements requested from the community were for restrooms, trails, and picnic areas. Planned improvements include a new restroom building and shelter near the lagoon (to replace existing Island Shelter near boat launch #2), a new accessible kayak launch and walk connection off of the Guild St. parking lot, and athletic field improvements.The Parks Department is also looking into long-term solutions for geese management and lagoon water quality. 

Residents at the meeting were asked to prioritize these additional improvements:*

  1. Choose one option to improve park amenities:
    • Improve playground north of Guild Street entrance
    • Add new picnic tables, benches and grills throughout the park
  2. Choose one option to improve waterfronts:
    1. Clear vegetation along riverfront so that the Grand River itself is more visible, especially beneficial events such as the regatta.
    2. Plant native plants and grasses along the lagoons to prohibit geese, enhance the natural environment and lagoon water quality. 

*There is potential for improvements to include a combination of these things as budget allows, but City staff are seeking resident input on their top priorities in order to accomplish as much as possible with current funding.

$500,000 is allocated for Riverside Parks improvements from the 2013 parks millage, with an additional $150,000 coming from a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant.


This November, Grand Rapids residents have the opportunity to vote on a new millage which will replace the 2013 parks millage when it expires next year and will provide $5 million per year to keep our parks and playgrounds maintained, updated, and safe, and to keep all Grand Rapids pools and splash pads open every summer. Find more information here: 


Next steps: City staff will collect feedback for the rest of October, and will share the final designs this winter. The project will be bid in January, with construction next summer. Contact the Parks and Recreation Department with questions at or 616.456.3696

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