City of Grand Rapids joins effort to increase access to parks
Published on March 20, 2019
10-Minute Walk study will bring national partners to Grand Rapids to offer ideas for addressing park deficient areas
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The City of Grand Rapids today announced it is participating in an Urban Land Institute (ULI) national study visit this month as part of funding it has received through the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)’s 10-Minute Walk campaign.
“Accessibility is essential in creating a vibrant and equitable parks system,” said David Marquardt, the City’s parks and recreation director. “We want to make sure everyone in our community can enjoy parks in their neighborhoods and the benefits they offer, including recreation, health and educational opportunities. We are honored to host the Urban Institute and look forward to its recommendations.”
While 77 percent of Grand Rapids residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, City and community partners are working to erase disparities in historically underserved parts of the city while creating park spaces that keep pace with current development and population growth. In April 2018, NRPA announced Grand Rapids was among 12 U.S. cities to receive a planning and technical assistance grant to develop a measurable action plan that would ensure all residents had access to a high-quality park within a 10-minute walk of their home.
The ULI national study visit will bring together national and local ULI members and other national experts to develop recommendations for increasing parks and open spaces in priority park deficient areas of the city. The visit will take place March 25-27. Members of the study team will present their recommendations at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 27 in the ninth-floor Commission Chambers at City Hall, 300 Monroe Ave. NW. The presentation is free and open to the public. The presentation will also be livestreamed on the City’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Validated parking is available in the Government Center Ramp off Monroe and Ottawa avenues.
“The Urban Land Institute visit complements the goal we have set as a community to ensure there is a park within walking distance of every child who lives in our city,” Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said. “Parks play a critically important role in our community. We look forward to learning how we can increase accessibility to parks for every person who lives in our city.”
The ULI, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land and NRPA, are leading the 10-Minute Walk campaign. This is national movement to ensure everyone in the country has access to a high-quality park within a 10-minute walk of home. Campaign partners are working with cities throughout the country to advance their goals and commitments to improving equitable access to high-quality parks. Learn more HERE.