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Community Updates: Friday, July 29

Several committee/commission meetings take place in Grand Rapids on Tuesday; Richmond Park pool to hold "Wag 'n' Wade" dog swim event in August; and more
The downtown Grand Rapids skyline

The downtown Grand Rapids skyline /Ann-Marie Jurek

Several Committee/Commission Meetings Take Place in Grand Rapids on Tuesday

On Tuesday, July 26, city leadership gathered at City Hall for a day full of meetings. In the morning, Mayor Bliss, City Manager Mark Washington, and members of the City Commission met with four different committees to address resolutions and listen to reports. In the afternoon, they met with the Public Safety Committee and the City Commission held their own meeting later on in the evening.

The first meeting, which began at 8:00am on Tuesday morning, was with the Committee on Appointments. They were followed by the Grand Rapids Fiscal Committee, who brought a total of eleven items to the meeting (including several resolutions and a report from the City Treasurer). The Community Development Committee presented five resolutions to city leadership, most of which had to do with improvements to local infrastructure. The last of the morning meetings was with the Committee of the Whole, who presented four resolutions. There were also two briefings given at this meeting -- one an annual report from Cure Violence and the other a review of the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) by the Chief of Police. Chief Winstrom began his review by stating that, since his appointment, he has been working closely with the community to get their input on how public safety can be improved. According to his presentation, "the community wants GRPD's goal to be ensuring the safety and the feeling of safety for everyone in Grand Rapids" and that "mutual respect between the department and community is important to neighbors and critical to [GRPD's] success." To foster this understanding, Chief Winstrom is planning to make changes to some of GRPD's policies, trainings, and programs -- such as improved training on constitutional policing and the use of deadly force. More information on Chief Winstrom's evaluation and his plans for GRPD can be found in this press release or in the presentation he gave at Tuesday’s meeting.

The Public Safety Committee meeting lasted just over an hour and included four major agenda items. City leadership heard updates from the Grand Rapids Police Department, Grand Rapids Fire Department, Grand Rapids Parks & Recreation Department, and the 61st District Courts.

The City Commission meeting began at 7:00pm. During the public comment portions of this meeting, citizens took to the podium to express their thoughts and opinions on a wide range of issues -- particularly those having to do with GRPD, the perceived inaction of city leadership, and the arrests that were made at the last City Commission meeting. Several residents expressed distaste over an ordinance that would increase the salaries of "employees represented by the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association." A few individuals indicated that they felt GRPD's relationship with the community does not warrant a pay increase, especially after it was announced that the Michigan Department of Civil Rights had "brought formal charges of discrimination" against them. Another individual asked the commission why they had not accounted for this increase in the police budget that was approved earlier this year. City Manager Mark Washington ultimately responded to these points by saying that "...[the increase] is not for uniform, sworn police officers, [it is] for civilian crime scene technicians and latent fingerprint examiners who work the scene of incidents." 

Overall, over eight hours were spent in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall on Tuesday. The morning meetings, Public Safety Committee meeting, and the City Commission meeting were all livestreamed on the City of Grand Rapids' official YouTube channel.  


Richmond Park Pool To Hold "Wag 'n' Wade" Dog Swim Event in August

In a July 25 press release, the City of Grand Rapids' Parks & Recreation Department announced that dogs will be able to swim for free at Richmond Park Pool on Sunday, August 21. There will be four swimming sessions total, with a limit of 175 dogs per time block. According to the release, there will also be giveaways and other activities provided by local pet vendors. Each household can register up to two dogs here.

The schedule for the event is:

  • 12:00pm - 1:00pm: Open swim for small dogs (under 35 pounds)
  • 1:15pm - 2:15pm, 2:30pm - 3:30pm: Open swim for large dogs (over 35 pounds)
  • 3:45pm - 4:45pm: Open swim for older dogs (8+ years old)

Waste cleanup bags, toys, and drinking water will be available at the pool. However, owners will be responsible for providing leashes and a record of their dogs' rabies vaccinations. The Grand Rapids Parks & Recreation Department also suggests that owners bring items to ensure their dogs' comfort and safety -- such as life vests and towels. 


Also in the News:

  • The City Clerk's office has announced that there has been a temporary change to the location of Grand Rapids Voting Precinct 64. Registered voters that reside within this area should attend the polls at the Gerald R. Ford Academic Center instead of at First Christian Reformed Church.


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