Our network

Public Spaces

My Town Grand Haven: Grand Haven Township eyes Diocese land

GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP, Mich.— The 417-acre Hofma Park and Preserve may soon grow by another 40 acres.

Within the next two weeks, Grand Haven Township officials plan to file for a state grant to help pay for purchasing 40 acres of land adjacent to Hofma Park and Preserve.  The land is approximately 52 percent forested wetland and 48 percent upland field with Christmas trees.  The land is currently owned by the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids.

Township Superintendent Bill Cargo says the land acquisition is expected to cost approximately $368,000.  Approximately 75 percent of that cost would be covered by the grant; the other 25 percent would come out of the township’s general fund.

The grant decision is expected to be finalized by November or December 2014.   If approved, Cargo is hopeful the grant would be funded in January 2015.

Cargo says the land would be kept in its natural state.

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 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 Grand Rapids South: Donations sought to build community earthbench

My Town Grand Rapids South: Donations sought to build community earthbench

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--  The Heart of West Michigan United Way is looking for donations to help volunteers build an earthbench for the community.

An earthbench is created by stuffing inorganic landfill trash into bottles until they become compressed like bricks.  Builders then use a mixture of clay, sand, straw and water to naturally cement the “bottle bricks” together into a bench form.  Regular cement and mortar can also be used.

In celebration of Global Youth Service Day and Earth Day, HWMUW is teaming up with local youth and volunteers from Eastown Community Association and the West Michigan AmeriCorps Collaborative to build an earthbench in the ECA’s community garden.  The project will also include improving the garden, planting flowers and picking up trash and debris.  Staff from Cherry Street Health Services will also come out to teach the youth about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

But before an earthbench can be built, v

Disability Advocates of Kent County hold bus stop clearing contest

Disability Advocates of Kent County hold bus stop clearing contest

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The higher temperatures and rain will likely not rid West Michigan of all of its snow, which is why the Disability Advocates of Kent County is inviting all shovelers to take part in a contest.

The organization is asking everyone to help dig out bus stops in the Grand Rapids metro area, which are buried under snow.  While many people can climb over the snow banks to get on buses, people with disabilities cannot.

People who dig out a bus stop are asked to take a before and after picture and email them to Aric Coleman at aric.c@dakc.us , along with the location of the bus stop.  The Disability Advocates of Kent County will post the pictures on its Facebook Page to recognize your efforts.  Members of the group that clears the most stops by Feb.

Jury duty, trampoline court guidelines signed into law by Governor

Jury duty, trampoline court guidelines signed into law by Governor

LANSING, Mich.—Full-time college students called to jury duty can now postpone their service until the end of the school year.

Governor Snyder signed that bill into law Tuesday.  It allows students attending higher education in Michigan to delay jury duty if they can prove it will interfere with their class schedule. A similar exemption already exists for eligible high school students.

“Serving on a jury is an important part of our civic responsibility,” Snyder said. “However, for college students, jury duty can be disruptive to their studies. This law gives them the opportunity to focus on their education while still giving them the opportunity to serve after the school year.”