Downtown Park To Get Facelift

July 29, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — The new Crescent Park will be a tribute to local cancer survivors.

So much so, that some of the many brick pavers that will mark the park’s new plaza will contain their names.

The Van Andel Research Institute has decided to fund the park’s reconstruction to the tune of $1.5 million and work is set to begin on the city-owned park after construction of the institute’s second structure is completed in December.

VARI is forming Friends of Crescent Park Inc., a nonprofit organization, for the project, and FCP will soon enter into an agreement with the city that will allow it to do the work.

City commissioners approved the agreement’s term sheet last week following a lengthy negotiation between VARI and city officials.

“They really worked with us for the past year or two,” said City Manager Kurt Kimball.

Kimball said his team, including City Parks and Recreation Director Jay Steffen, worked closely with VARI representatives, led by Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel Steven Heacock

“We’ve negotiated a term sheet here, and this has been vetted pretty well,” said Kimball.

Highlights of the agreement include an easement into the park that will allow for the improvements to be made, naming rights to various portions of the new park, the right for VARI to hold special events there, and the creation of an adopt-the-park program.

The agreement will be for three years with an automatic three-year extension.

Crescent Park is located immediately south of the institute, which is at 333 Bostwick Ave. NW.

The Butterworth campus of Spectrum Health and Grand Rapids Community College are within a few blocks of the park to the east and south, respectively.

Steffen said the park project will include a new plaza, a snowmelt system for the stairway, landscape improvements, and picnic tables placed throughout the site.

“We’re really looking at a world-class pocket park — with the help of VAI.”

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