A Watershed Moment: Joe Taylor Park

The product of nearly a decade of planning is finally coming to fruition for the City of Grand Rapids, Green Grand Rapids and the citizens of the Baxter neighborhood.  Joe Taylor Park is undergoing final preparations for the ribbon-cutting ceremony that will re-introduce the green space to the community; this time as both a recreational asset and a stormwater management system for the surrounding residential area.

WMEAC’s Daniel Schoonmaker spoke with Steve Faber of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks about the the nearly-completed Joe Taylor Park for the latest Watershed Moment episode.  As Faber describes, the city’s newest park is “world class” for a number of reasons.  The sewer overflow project served to update the existing infrastructure by separating storm water and sewer lines, which will aid the treatment process.  The separation of the lines, as well as the addition of the stormwater retention system, will help avoid overflow into the Grand River during heavy rain events.  Construction work on the retention system took care of the preliminary park-site preparation, rendering the cost of the project lower than normal.

The Joe Taylor Park is situated “at the epicenter of park deficiency,” said Faber, who pointed to the admirable goal of the Green Grand Rapids master planning process: ensure that every person in Grand Rapids lives within ¼ mile of a park.  Faber hopes that the completion of this park will signify a major step towards designing other parks in the area to serve as vibrant gathering places and assets to their neighborhood, as he believes the Joe Taylor Park will.

The nearly-complete parking lot surface is permeable to rainwater.

The new splash pad at Joe Taylor Park

A visit to the site shows that innovative features abound; the parking lot, for example, is permeable pavement, allowing rainwater to soak through the surface into the retention basins below instead of flowing to the Grand River.  Decorative park benches are arranged in a circle around the new splash pad.  It is evident that this park was designed with Baxter residents in mind; now all it needs is children on the new playground equipment.

You can listen to the full episode here.

“A Watershed Moment” is a weekly radio program focused on environmental news and happenings in West Michigan, plus solutions for living a greener life.

Broadcast on WYCE-FM 88.1 on Tuesdays: 8:30am and 5:30pm, this program is produced by Grand Rapids Community Media  Center and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council.

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