GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — City leaders held a rededication ceremony Friday morning to celebrate the reopening of Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids.
The event included a ceremonial ribbon-cutting and remarks from Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, City Manager Mark Washington and others.
“Today as we look around, we can see all of the upgrades and renovations … making sure that this will continue to be a beautiful piece of public art in the heart of our city that is available all year round. This is a four-season space,” Bliss said.
Rosa Parks Circle is defined by Ecliptic, a work of art created by Maya Lin, who also designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington, D.C. Inspired by the Grand River, Ecliptic pays tribute to water in three forms: liquid, vapor and ice. A fountain and mist fountain show off liquid and vapor and the amphitheater is flooded in the winter to become an ice skating rink.
Washington, a native of Texas, joked that he was looking forward to the skating.
“What a great place for our community to celebrate,” he said. “This has become a very vibrant part of our community.”
Rosa Parks Circle reopened to the public on June 1 after being closed for more than a year. It was blocked off in May 2021 and was supposed to be finished by September on the 20th anniversary of Ecliptic, but the reopening date was delayed due to manufacturing, shipping and fabrication delays on materials.
The $3 million renovation included replacing the concrete rings with granite, replacing lighting and trash cans, adding seating and restoring the restrooms.
“Rosa Parks and Ecliptic is really the heart of our community, both for downtown and the city as a whole. It’s where anyone can come and gather, can express theirself freely, can celebrate the community, can enjoy art and entertainment, and in the winter can even play a game of human Hungry, Hungry Hippos,” Tim Kelly, president and CEO of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., said. “This is a truly unique community asset, a world-class piece of art, and really emblematic of the things that we believe are important for a public space and a town square.”