The Rapidian

Citizens to vote on park ballot initiative

On November 5, Yes! GR Parks will appear on ballots in the City of Grand Rapids to raise money for city parks.
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Election Day Information

Election day: November 5

For more information about election day, click here


Cherry Park sits with an empty splash pool

Cherry Park sits with an empty splash pool /Steven Depolo

On November 5, the initiative Yes! GR Parks will appear on the ballot in the City of Grand Rapids. The ballot initiative aims to raise money to fix and replace park equipment, fix facilities and keep city pools open five weeks longer.

A new tax with a millage of .98 would be implemented to property taxes. To get an idea of what this figure means to taxpayers, if a house is valued at $89,000, the property owner would pay a tax of $3.66 per month. This tax would be in effect for the next seven years.

According to the National Recreation and Parks Association, over 90% of city parks have been given a rating of "C". Other departments such as police, fire and roads have been the focus of the budget lately. As a result, the park budget has made the biggest cutbacks in recent years. Steve Faber jokes how things are now fixed in the park.

"You spit shine things and then you tack them together with chewing gum," says Faber. "When things break, they're just removed."

Various groups have officially endorsed this initiative such as the Heritage Hill Association Board, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and the Rec Advisory Board. Terry Westbrook, President of Grand Rapids Association of Realtors has announced GRAR's endorsement of the park proposal. 

" [Parks] have been neglected, they've cut the budget significantly over time," says Westbrook. "If you went to a park, wouldn't you expect a working toilet and a place to get a drink?"

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