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Pleasant Park receives $300,000 development award

The project receives the first in a series of critical grants to transform an abandoned parking lot into a neighborhood park.
Pleasant Park, as it stands now

Pleasant Park, as it stands now /Jaimé Johnson

Underwriting support from:
Pleasant Park Master Plan

Pleasant Park Master Plan

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) has committed $300,000 of the total $731,00 needed to convert an empty 2.3 acre parking lot at the southeast corner of Madison Avenue and Pleasant Street to a fully functional neighborhood park.

According to the list of development recommendations released by the MNRTF yesterday, the award will support the development of “play/informal sports and neighborhood gathering areas, a barrier-free playground, a sledding/rolling hill, accessible concrete walks, native landscaping and rain gardens.”  

The parking lot was previously owned by Kent County and used by the Department of Human Services until they relocated in 2009. The City of Grand Rapids acquired the lot that year, and it was quickly the subject of a series of public park planning charrettes organized by the City, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and the Heritage Hill and South Hill neighborhood associations. The City has designated an additional $112,240 in the form of a Community Development Block Grant to the project.

“Pleasant Park is another fine example of a model for sustainable design,” said Third Ward City Commissioner Elias Lumpkins. “The Green Grand Rapids process of building community consensus and partnering to achieve the desired outcome has been effectively used again for this park. The recent design and construction of the new Joe Taylor Park began a trend which has been applied successfully here as well.” 

The remaining funds needed to complete the park and establish a maintenance endowment will be raised through a combination of private fundraising and philanthropic gifts. Heritage Hill Neighborhood Association has already set up a website soliciting donations for the project.

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