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My Town EGR: Public hearing for Waterfront Park expansion March 3 | Environment

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My Town EGR: Public hearing for Waterfront Park expansion March 3
My Town EGR: Public hearing for Waterfront Park expansion March 3

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—  The City of East Grand Rapids has set the date to hear from community members about a plan to apply for funding to continue work on Waterfront Park.

The city must postpone Phase II of the project for at least a year after failing to secure a $300,000 grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.  Parks and Recreation Director Fred Bunn said the city’s application scored 360 points, narrowly missing the cut for grant money.  Bunn says five projects scored 360 points—three of them were awarded funding and two were denied.

Bunn says the total cost for Phase II would be approximately $750,000, and the city cannot cover the amount the grant would have paid for.  City officials are considering reapplying for the same grant for next year. The deadline to apply for the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant is April 1.

Phase II would include expanding wetlands and restoring woodland areas by weeding out invasive trees and planting 430 native trees.  The work would also include installing overlook decks, building an outdoor classroom and adding handicap accessible walkways.

Phase I of Waterfront Park officially opened to the public in May 2011.  The $614,000 project included restoring the lakeshore along Reeds Lake Boulevard, installing a floating boardwalk, overlook deck, pathways with benches and picnic shelters.

The public hearing will take place during the East Grand Rapids City Commission meeting on Monday, March 3 at 6 p.m.  The forum will be held at the Community Center located at 750 Lakeside Drive in East Grand Rapids.  Anyone who cannot make the meeting and would like to weigh in on the grant situation can contact Bunn at (616) 949-1750.