Parks and Recreation Strategic Master Plan

Grand Rapids residents continue to emphasize that parks, natural spaces and safe recreational opportunities are an important part of our community. Parks are vital to our health and wellbeing and have been especially important spaces for our community as we live through a global pandemic.

Every five years the City of Grand Rapids updates our parks master plan, which provides a road map for the long-term development and sustainability of our park system. The Parks & Recreation Master Plan looks at ways we can:

  • Create equitable access to parks in every neighborhood.
  • Ensure we have the right number and distribution of recreational facilities.
  • Develop creative and inclusive programming for our community.
  • Expand community impact through partnerships and creative funding strategies. 
Title page of the 2022 Parks & Recreation Strategic Master Plan - words


Read the plan(PDF, 67MB)

View the plan appendix(PDF, 39MB)

Our Department mission, vision, and goals were developed from community needs and input.

Department Mission

To provide our community with inspirational experiences through the responsible management and collaborative stewardship of the City’s natural, educational, and cultural resources.

Department Vision

Creating and supporting a healthy, vibrant community through:

  • Active neighborhoods
  • Inclusive programs and events
  • Innovation and best practices
  • Exceptional services
  • Embracing diversity

Department Goals

  • Connected NetworkCreate a connected network of parks, natural areas and waterways accessible to the entire Grand Rapids community.
  • Healthy Community - Create programs and projects that support the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of all community members.
  • Neighborhood Investments -Create diverse experiences by drawing on community feedback, local ecology and national trends.
  • Sustainable System - Seek innovative solutions to become more financially self-sustainable and diversify funding sources.

Comprehensive site master plans were developed for four parks as a part of the Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan update. The master plan for each park considers what is important about a site, records community needs and concerns, and documents how its character can be conserved and improved in the future. Projects to implement the master plan will be phased out over several years. 

Roosevelt Park Lodge

Improvements to the Lodge has been a high community priority for many years. Recognizing the potential for the Lodge to be a  community recreational hub within a Neighborhood of Focus, preliminary plans for renovations of the lodge seek to modernize and diversify programming in and around the building. 


  • #1 - Opportunities and Concerns - July 13, 2021
  • #2 - Concept Development - October 14, 2021
  • Roosevelt Park Pop-Up Market - October 21, 2021
  • Roosevelt Park Tree Lighting - December 10, 2021

Ball Perkins Park

A large, under-developed site with need for greater public access, Ball Perkins Park was selected for master planning to balance the demand for active recreation and environmental preservation.


Community Input Session #3 - Preferred Concept Presentation

Community Input Session #2 - Concept Development

Community Input Session #1 - Opportunities & Concerns

Riverside Park

Due to budget constraints, Riverside Park has not undergone a recent master planning process. Large asset management needs along with high community daily demands and special event use make Riverside a priority for improvements now more than ever. As a regional park along the Grand River, improved circulation, integration with river corridor plans, and the balance of active recreation with environmental protection will help Riverside Park reach its full potential.



  • #1 - Opportunities and Concerns - July 16, 2021
  • #2 - Concept Development - October 12, 2021
  • Creston Neighborhood Association Annual Meeting - October 28, 2021

32nd Street Green Space

The City's Third Ward is a historically park-deficient community compared to the other two city wards. The Department intentionally selected this undeveloped plot of land to be studied as a potential community nature park, adding 17 acres of much needed public open space to the neighborhood.


Community Input Session #3 - Preferred Concept Presentation

Community Input Session #2 - Concept Development

Community Input Session #1 - Opportunities & Concerns