With the recent flooding along the Grand River, one local neighborhood is organizing and taking action. Westside neighbors will come together for the 5th Westside Community Clean Up this Saturday, April 27th. City dwellers from the downtown residential community are partnering with local businesses and area non-profits to recruit volunteers for this Saturdays Westside Clean Up. The neighborhood, already overflowing with trash from the long winter season, was affected by record water levels this past weekend that flooded areas along the fish ladder and Ah Nab Awen park. Organizers had already planned to clean along the West side of the Grand River as part of this annual event, but will now intensify their efforts due to the weekend floods.
The Westside Community Clean Up project is in need of volunteers to help with trash and post-flood clean up over 20 city blocks. This is a great way for local businesses, non profits, churches and members of the public sector to come together as a community and take care of Grand Rapids’ Westside, which was almost wiped out by the flood of 1904. For details on how to become involved with the Westside Community Clean Up, text westside to 71441.
People interested in volunteering for the Westside Community Clean Up are asked to meet at St. Mary’s Church parking lot, 1st Street between Broadway and Turner, at 8:45am on Saturday, April 27th. Teams will work from 9am to 12:15pm to work along the river and city streets cleaning up trash, and report graffiti and maintenance issues directly to the City of Grand Rapids through the “GRCity 311” smartphone application. Due to the volume of trash, the group is planning on taking a break for lunch and then reconvening in the afternoon from 2 pm till dusk to work on additional projects, which will include spreading mulch under the Bridge street bridge, tending to the Westside’s environmental rain gardens, and
painting over some of the graffiti.
A Volunteer Recognition lunch will take place from 12:30-2 pm at Broadway Bar, 6th Street and Broadway NW, where volunteers will be treated to lunch, inspiring words from local leaders and giveaways from local businesses. Invited guests include Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, State Representatives Winnie Brinks and Brandon Dillon, and First Ward City Commissioners Dave Shaffer and Walt Gutkowski. In addition, organizers have invited Mike Van Gessel, Owner of Rockford Construction, Todd Wawee, Owner of Holiday Bar and Kopper Top; Kris Larson, Executive Director of Downtown Development Authority (DDA); and Kyle Van Strien, member of the Planning Commission and Project Coordinator, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks to share their thoughts on development priorities for the areas Westside.
“Volunteers will be mobilized with everything they need for this three-hour power clean up, which includes picking up trash along the Grand River and several high priority areas identified by the Michigan Department of Transportation, Grand Rapids Streets and Sanitation, and Kent County Road Commission,” reports Erica Curry VanEe, co-founder and organizer of the West Side Community Clean Up. “This event is organized by the community, for the community. It brings out the best in all who participate, and brings hope to all of us who have chosen to make the Westside our home.”
The West Side Community Clean Up is celebrating its 5th year, and is part of a larger grass roots effort to invest in local neighborhood revitalization, beautification and economic development.
Volunteer Information for the Westside Community Clean Up, Saturday, April 27 th:
- 8:45am: Meet at St. Mary’s Church Parking Lot, 423 1st St NW, Grand Rapids 49504
- 9am-12:15pm: Westside Community Clean Up
- 12:30pm: Community Engagement Lunch at Broadway Bar, 6th St and Broadway NW
- Text westside to 71441 for details on the Westside Community Clean Up and to RVSP