DDA OKs Grand Rapids’ first downtown bike and skate park

Grand Rapids

A conceptual rendering provided by A.G.A. Nation shows the downtown Grand Rapids bike and skate park slated for 555 Monroe Ave. NW.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A parking lot turned event site will soon become downtown Grand Rapids’ first bike and skate park.

The Downtown Development Authority Wednesday morning unanimously approved up to $200,000 for the pilot project, which will transform a portion of the lot used for Movies on Monroe into the bike and skate park. The remaining space at 555 Monroe Ave. NW will continue to serve as an event space.

A downtown bike and skate park has been a part of the city’s vision for more than a decade, making it into the River For All, City of Grand Rapids Parks Department and GR Forward plan priorities based on community demand.

“There was never an opportune time or location, and this just happened to be the perfect timing for us to actually finally address something that the community has wanted for a very long time,” said Kimberly Van Driel, director of public space management for Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.

The park will be free and open to skateboarders, BMX riders, scooters and skaters. While programs at the park would be year-round weather-permitting, normal park operation hours would apply.

Conceptual renderings provided by A.G.A. Nation show the downtown Grand Rapids bike and skate park slated for 555 Monroe Ave. NW.

DGRI consulted with members of the bike and skate community in designing the park. It will be built out of concrete and synthetic materials and include:

  • Three-way bank ramp with grind ledge
  • Grind bench
  • Grind ledges
  • Grind rails
  • A three-way pyramid with stairs, hips, rails and grind ledge
  • A four-way pyramid with stairs, hips, rails and grind ledge
  • Bike ramps
  • Quarter pipe with channel gap

The process of planning and community outreach is slated to start this month. Off-site construction would start in April with asphalt paving and park installation happening in May.

A conceptual rendering provided by A.G.A. Nation shows the downtown Grand Rapids bike and skate park slated for 555 Monroe Ave. NW.

If all goes well, the bike and skate park would open in late May and celebrate its grand opening in June with a multisport competition.

A conceptual rendering provided by A.G.A. Nation shows the downtown Grand Rapids bike and skate park slated for 555 Monroe Ave. NW.

DGRI is working with A.G.A. Nation to design, build and promote the pilot project, which would run two to three years, depending on when the site is needed as a staging area for the Grand River restoration project. If the park is well-received, the DDA could decide to make it a permanent amenity as soon as the lot is available again.

A conceptual rendering provided by A.G.A. Nation shows the downtown Grand Rapids bike and skate park slated for 555 Monroe Ave. NW.

A.G.A. Nation says the park features will be made out of concrete and synthetic materials that will be checked twice a year to ensure they’re properly maintained.

The park budget includes approximately $8,000 in first-year maintenance, which is expected to include tightening screws and repainting surfaces to prevent rust.

Van Driel says the $8,000 cost in subsequent years will need to be worked into the DDA budget.

DGRI says Gone Boarding and the YMCA have shown interest in using the park.

Grand Rapids is home to two other skate parks at Clemente and Westown Commons parks.

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