GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids park remains closed to all vehicle traffic as concerns continue to grow about late night disturbances.
“It’s always been an area where a lot of people would congregate to do things such as drug dealing and later at night you would have a lot of incidents of intoxication, unruly behavior,” Belknap neighborhood board member, Marshall Gate said.
About a year ago, Gate said residents who live near Reservoir Park reached out to the city about those issues, requesting city leaders to eliminate motor vehicle traffic and make it a pedestrian park.
“Some of the drive was dangerous to pedestrians all hours of the day. It was really a nuisance. People were prepared to leave the neighborhood,” he said. “They shut the gate during the day.”
The park closure sign reads, “Due to recent illegal activity, this gate will remain and locked and closed to motorized vehicles. The park is open to pedestrians between sunrise and sunset.”
Neighbors said the notice has improved the traffic issues and reduced the crime that has happened in the neighborhood. However, some issues still remain.
“Motorcycles still come and ride on the sidewalk into the park,” Gate said.
About two dozen residents expressed those concerns in a Thursday meeting with city leaders and Grand Rapids Police Department.
According to a city spokesperson, the city is collaborating with the neighborhood on solutions and has placed a police camera trailer in front of Lookout Park for enforcement.
Gate ensures future residents that the area is safe and hopes measures taken will deter trouble.
“This is not a place to party. Rules should be followed,” Gate said. “If you want to party, do it at the bars. don’t do it up here on the hill because we will continue to take action.”