Parks and Recreation Strategic Master Plan

Header image for master plan initiative  


Community input was at the heart of this plan, and will continue to be as it becomes reality. The plan focuses on the needs of the community, inclusive recreation, economic growth, and funding. The Strategic Master Plan was adopted in June 2017.

Our plan focuses on four major goals, including: 

Connected Network

Create 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 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

Our new mission, vision, and values come 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

We're always working to achieve our goals. Here's what's already been implemented:

  • Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for new recreation options
  • New Michigan-themed water playground at Aberdeen Park
  • Nature trails and tree identification at Ball-Perkins Park
  • Neighborhood art projects at Alexander and Dickinson Parks
  • Outdoor table tennis at Garfield, Pleasant, Richmond, Riverside, and Wilcox parks

Project Overview

Public Open House #2

Public Open House #3

Public Open House #4

Where We've Been

Community Input

2010 5-Year Master Plan


Thank you to the thousands community members who have contributed to the future of your city and your parks!