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Mayor encourages participation in upcoming river cleanup

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell sits down with Environmental Bureau to discuss the upcoming Grand River Clean Up.
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Mayors’ Grand River Clean Up

Sat., Sept. 15

Sixth Street Park, Grand Rapids

Registration: 9 a.m.

Clean Up: 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Volunteer Appreciation Party, presented by Founders Brewing Co. 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Learn more and register for the 9th annual Mayors’ Grand River Clean Up at or visit the Facebook event page.

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell is gearing up for the annual Mayors’ Grand River Clean Up, slated for 9 a.m. on Sat., Sept. 15 at Sixth Street Park in Grand Rapids. There, volunteers will meet up, then head to locations throughout Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Walker and Grandville to clean debris from the banks of the Grand River.

The cleanup grew from a local undertaking in Grand Rapids nine years ago to a multi-city movement, with more volunteers joining every year.

“It is a wonderful community initiative that results in a much more attractive river edge in our four cities,” said Heartwell. "We get people all up and down the watershed cleaning the riverbanks. It’s absolutely astounding the stories people come back with and the things they found along the river.”

The aim of the event is to promote a sense of community to those who are connected to the Grand River while preserving the river for future use. Last year, a record 370 volunteers picked up 23,043 pounds of trash from 16 miles of riverbank.

WMEAC, which coordinates the event, anticipates over 400 volunteers for this year’s clean up. The first 450 volunteers will receive a free t-shirt. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and coffee and bagels will be provided. The clean up goes from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Volunteers will be transported by shuttle bus to the various locations. After the clean up, participants are invited to a volunteer appreciation party presented by Founders Brewing Co. from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

“You work, you get dirty, but in the end you feel like you’ve accomplished something,” said Heartwell. “Not only for your city but for the environment. So, September 15, nine-o-clock, see you at Sixth Street Park!”

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