Neighbors concerned about after-hours activity at GR park

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A park up on Belknap Lookout in Grand Rapids is causing concerns for neighbors. Reservoir Park closes at dark — but residents say that’s when the problems start.

“The lack of supervision and oversight is creating a public menace to the neighborhood and we are looking for some help,” said Marshall Grate, who has lived down the street from the park since 2015. 

Neighbors reached out to News 8 for assistance. A couple dozen homeowners have gotten together, sharing concerns about the park which is an asset to their neighborhood during the day but a nuisance at night.

Video from a neighbor’s security camera caught motorbikes riding on the sidewalk slipping into the park after dusk. Other videos show pedestrians and scooters hanging out.

In the morning residents find their trash left behind including empty liquor containers. Neighbors say alcohol and drug use is common and now they are hearing gun shots.

“It’s sort of a collection point for unfortunately people that come here maybe not with the best intentions,” said Grate.

The park closes at sunset but the videos make it clear the gate at the entrance to the park isn’t keeping anyone out. There are no lights inside the park and the one streetlight at the entrance has been out for months.

Neighbors say they emailed the city to fix it. Nothing happened until News 8 reached out to a city spokesperson Tuesday and then it was fixed.

That spokesperson told us the city’s Parks and Recreation Director David Marquardt is aware of the concerns but has not had an opportunity to speak directly to residents.

A program called “Walk with the Parks Director” is scheduled for tomorrow night. Belknap neighbors plan to attend with the hope of getting some solutions.

“I have a saying, liter invites liter. Cleanliness invites cleanliness,” said Grate. “So, if we can turn it around, I think it can improve and be the asset that it’s supposed to be to the neighborhood and the city.”

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