Our network

Public Spaces

My Town GR West: Three-year-old to be honored during arthritis walk

My Town GR West: Three-year-old to be honored during arthritis walk

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The date is set for a walk to benefit the more than 50 million Americans suffering from arthritis.

The John Ball Park Zoo will host the 2014 Grand Rapids Walk to Cure Arthritis on May 3. The walk is a non-competitive three mile journey to benefit research and programs provided by the Arthritis Foundation.  This year’s event will honor 3-year-old Mackenzie Proefrock of Norton Shores, who was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at the age of 2 years.  Mackenzie is among the 300,000 children and 50 million adults in the United States faced with arthritis.

To register for this year's walk or for additional information, visit the event website here or call (616) 949-9938.

GRPS students lend voices, design solutions to transform Roosevelt Park neighborhood

GRPS students lend voices, design solutions to transform Roosevelt Park neighborhood

By John Wiegand
This story originally ran in Rapid Growth

The old adage, "children should be seen and not heard," doesn't ring true in Grand Rapids' southwest Roosevelt Park neighborhood.

My Town: Grand Rapids releases profile for future police chief

My Town: Grand Rapids releases profile for future police chief

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—After sifting through more than 800 surveys and comments  from community members who attended 22 focus group meetings, the City of Grand Rapids has crafted its profile for the ideal police chief candidate.

“The purpose of this candidate profile is to clearly communicate to all potential candidates the community’s expectations of the new police chief. The characteristics, vision and focus listed in the profile provides a powerful description of what the Grand Rapids community wants,” stated City Manager Greg Sundstrom. “I am most impressed with the thought that went into the comments taken from the surveys, and from the interaction in the neighborhood and focus groups.”

The city released the community profile Monday.  The outline is being included as  part of the official job posting.  The city will be accepting applications for police chief through April.

My Town: Governor Snyder selects West Michiganders to serve MMSA

My Town: Governor Snyder selects West Michiganders to serve MMSA

LANSING, Mich.—Two community leaders from West Michigan are joining a Michigan authority focused on forging relationships between municipalities and school districts.

On Thursday, Governor Snyder announced the appointment of Al Vanderberg  and to the Michigan Municipal Services Authority and its executive committee,  as well as the appointment of Stacie Behler as chair of the executive committee and the MMSA board.  The MMSA encourages cooperation between communities in school district, overseeing services they can share.

“Increasing collaboration between local units of government and getting the most out of citizens' tax dollars remains an important focus as we continue to reinvent government,” Snyder said. “I appreciate the willingness of both Al and Stacie to serve in these important roles in that effort.” 

My Town Wyoming: City welcomes new deputy director of fire services

My Town Wyoming: City welcomes new deputy director of fire services

WYOMING, Mich.—Wyoming’s newly restructured public safety department has a new deputy director of fire services.

Frank Verburg took over the job on Monday, March 10.  Verburg will direct the activities of the city’s fire service division, including coordinating fire prevention, fire suppression and emergency medical programs.  He will supervise and provide training to 21 full-time and 35 paid on-call and dual-trained firefighters.  Verburg will also be in charge of building and property fire inspections.

Verburg replaces former Fire Chief Bob Austin, who retired March 3, after 37 years of service to the city.  Austin’s retirement came shortly after the city combined its police and fire services into a public safety department.

My Town GR: City lighting upgrade research begins March 11

My Town GR: City lighting upgrade research begins March 11

GRAND RAPIDS— Grand Rapids is taking the first steps to potentially change lighting across the city.

Beginning Tuesday, March 11, crews will be taking inventory of the city’s utility system, which includes physically checking all 18,000 utility poles.  The work by Davey Resource Group will provide the city with geographical mapping of all the lights and power hubs.  That information will be used as the city considers new lighting options that will save money.

Anyone with questions or concerns about the work can contact the Traffic Safety Department at (616) 456-3066. 

My Town: Public invited to discuss future of Kent County highways

My Town: Public invited to discuss future of Kent County highways

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—The Michigan Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting next week to detail the work needed on U.S. 131 and I-96 in Kent County over the next 20 years.

MDOT says community members will play an important role in the project decisions, from concept to completion.  People are encouraged to bring concerns and ideas to the open house-format meeting on Thursday, March 6, from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.  The meeting will take place at the Rockford Construction Community Center, located at 601 First St. NW in Grand Rapids.

MDOT is currently studying preservation and improvement options for U.S. 131 between 100th Street and M-57 and I-96 between Fruit Ridge Avenue and Leonard Street.

For those who cannot make Thursday’s meeting, MDOT will hold a second forum Wednesday, March 12, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Walker Fire station at 1470 3 Mile Road NW.