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 in the past year:

  • Kayaks and stand-up paddle boards purchased for new recreation options
  • New spinning bikes and studio space
  • New senior wellness site at North Park Presbyterian Church
  • Nature trail construction at Ball-Perkins Park and Huff Park
  • Collaboration with GRPS, Our Community's Children, and other partners for environmental education features and programming on school sites
  • Completed design for inclusive, universally accessible playground at Ottawa Hills Park
  • Grand River Corridor Design Guidelines
  • Spanish-instructed free fitness class offering in partnership with La Mejor radio station
  • Strengthened partnership with Friends of Grand Rapids Parks through a Memorandum of Understanding
  • Free summer day camp for neighborhood youth at MLK Park
  • Improved services on new City website

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

More Information


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