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Community updates: Friday, June 4

City of Grand Rapids expands micromobility pilot with electric assist bikes; Kent County expands Chief Hazy Cloud Park to nearly 400-acre natural preserve; and local YMCAs to host Healthy Kids Day events on Saturday.
Ionia Ave. SW in downtown Grand Rapids.

Ionia Ave. SW in downtown Grand Rapids. /Experience Grand Rapids

City of Grand Rapids expands micromobility pilot with electric assist bikes

The City of Grand Rapids is expanding mobility options for area residents and visitors with the addition of electric assist bicycles throughout the city, it announced Thursday.

In partnership with micromobility company Lime, the e-assist bikes will launch in Grand Rapids on Friday, with 150 of them to start. Lime will also launch 300 e-scooters throughout the city, with a goal of scaling up to as many as 750 e-assist bikes and scooters to match demand.

The new mobility options are part of the city’s shared micromobility pilot that launched in Sept. 2020. The pilot has so far deployed e-scooters across Grand Rapids through a partnership with company Spin, which has aimed to scale up its own number of scooters to as many as 1,500 to match demand, according to the City of Grand Rapids.

Like the Spin scooters, the Lime bikes and scooters will be deployed across a 12 square-mile area covering downtown, neighborhoods, and business districts. According to the City of Grand Rapids, it will serve 74 percent of underserved neighborhoods to evaluate how shared micromobility services can contribute to Grand Rapids’ multi-modal transportation system.

“Shared electric assist bicycles and e-scooters offer lower cost mobility options, especially for shorter distance trips,” said Justin Kimura, Assistant Director of the city’s Mobile GR department. “We are pleased to partner with Lime to expand transportation mobility options, and we continue to emphasize that users should exercise safe riding habits.”

Using a Lime mobile app, riders can sign up to unlock the bikes, access information on how to ride e-assist bikes and e-scooters safely, and find the nearest designated parking zones and available Lime bikes and scooters.

All Lime and Spin micromobility vehicles in Grand Rapids are $1 to unlock, plus 25 cents per minute. Like Spin, Lime also offers reduced rates for lower-income residents and non-smart phone options through its Lime Access program.

More details about the city’s micromobility pilot are available through the Shared Mobility page on its website.


Kent County expands Chief Hazy Cloud Park to nearly 400-acre natural preserve

Kent County Parks has completed a series of land acquisitions that will expand the county’s Chief Hazy Cloud Park into a 395-acre natural preserve, it announced Thursday. The preserve will feature trails and more than three miles of Grand River frontage.

Located in Ada Township along the Grand River, the park’s expansion is a collaboration between Kent County, Ada Township, and Kent County Parks. Plans to expand the park have been part of the Kent County Parks Master Plan for more than two decades, according to a joint statement from the partners.

The partners said a goal for Chief Hazy Cloud Park is to transform its expanded property into a major regional park and connect it through a pedestrian bridge to Roselle Park, a 240-acre park located on the opposite side of the Grand River. The park’s related acquisitions also continue the partners’ conservation efforts to preserve the Grand River and nearby upland and wetland habitats.

“Kent County will develop and run a master plan process to give the community an opportunity to provide feedback on the development of the park,” Kent County Parks Superintendent Dan DeLooff said. “We are excited about the opportunities this park has to offer, and we look forward to hearing resident ideas on how to develop the green space.”

Chief Hazy Cloud Park was originally established in 1920s, growing to 24 acres by the 1990s. In 1928, its name was changed to Chief Hazy Cloud from Grand River Park to honor Chief Mnobbinnakizhick, or “Hazy Cloud,” whose tribe worked and traveled the banks of the Grand and Thornapple Rivers.

The park offers opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing, among more. More details about the park are available on Kent County Parks' website.


Local YMCAs to host Healthy Kids Day events on Saturday

YMCAs in the greater Grand Rapids area are hosting Healthy Kids Day events on Saturday, featuring activities to motivate and teach families how to develop and maintain healthy routines throughout the summer ahead.

From 9:30am to noon, the annual events will take place both in-person and virtually. The in-person events will feature physically-distanced, outdoor games and activities.

Participating branches are the Visser Family YMCA in Wyoming, SpartanNash YMCA in Grandville, Mary Free Bed YMCA in Cascade, and Wolverine Worldwide Family YMCA in Belmont.

Now in its 29th year, Healthy Kids Day is the YMCA’s national initiative to improve health and well-being for kids and families. Events related to the initiative are free to the public.

“As communities weigh the impacts of the past year’s challenges and work to strengthen support systems surrounding our youth, the Y is here for families, helping identify pathways that will see them thrive,” said Cecily McCabe, YMCA Communications Director.

“When a child is healthy and connected to role models, peers, and the resources they need, they can be successful,” she added. “The recipe’s success has been demonstrated time and again.”

Registration for Healthy Kids Day events is available through the YMCA’s website.


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