2021 Parks Improvement Millage

2021 Parks Improvement Millage

In 2018 and 2020 respectively, the City adopted a Master Plan and a Community Parks and Recreation Master Plan that incorporated many hours of input and ideas from residents. The City is now considering a millage request for the November 2021 ballot that, if approved by voters, would provide funding for many of the proposed improvements outlined in these plans.  

In addition to extensive renovations and additions at Manhattan Park, additional trails through several undeveloped properties, shade shelters and sport courts, the millage request would include removing and replacing five playgrounds in the City. Four of these playgrounds are on property owned by EGR Public Schools and the other playground is on City-owned property.


Special thanks to all those who joined us on June 10 to discuss the millage. Couldn't make it? No worries! We still want to hear from you and have two more upcoming opportunities to provide feedback: 

  • Wednesday, June 23
    • Commission Chambers
    • 7-8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 30
    • Virtual — stay tuned for Zoom link
    • 12 - 1p.m.

Please note that while representatives from EGRPS will be in attendance to answer questions regarding the schools’ millage proposal, this meeting will focus on the City’s millage proposal.  

Whether or not you are able to attend, feel free to share your thoughts in writing to Mayor Favale and the City Commission at 750 Lakeside Drive SE, East Grand Rapids, MI 49506 or by email to City Clerk Karen Brower at kbrower@eastgr.org.  

If you are interested in learning more about these millage proposals and providing feedback, this page provides additional details, maps, cost estimates and feedback opportunities. This page will be updated regularly with additional information.


June 8: The City Commission continued its discussion on the proposed parks improvement millage for the November 2021 ballot, noting the June 10 feedback opportunity. 

May 17: The City Commission discussed a proposed parks improvement millage for the November 2021 ballot, noting municipal bond rates are at historically low rates and appear to be stable going forward, making the cost of borrowing attractive.  


City of EGR Parks Improvement Millage 

If placed on the November ballot and approved by voters, the City would use the parks improvement millage to cover all costs for the design, purchase and installation of new playground facilities at Breton Downs, Lakeside and Wealthy elementary schools, the EGR Public Schools Woodcliff Administration Building and Manhattan Recreation Area.  

The parks improvement millage also would potentially fund the following projects outlined in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan:  

EGRPS Playgrounds
Breton Downs, Lakeside, Wealthy, WECC
Upgrade trails to provide barrier-free access with wetland and lakefront overlooks and a connection to Waterfront Park
Hodenpyl South
Provide a barrier-free trail south of Reeds Lake Boulevard with lake overlook decks
Waterfront Park Phase 2
Woodland and wetland restoration, trail and boardwalk development, additional parking and environmental education opportunities 
Steketee Woods
Provide accessible trail linking to Reeds Lake Trail, including hilltop terrace, lake viewing area and boardwalk ramp/stairs
Shroeder Property
Provide a trail through park to lakefront with viewing docks
Dog park — Develop a dog park on an existing property or acquire new property 
New sports courts — provide new futsal and pickleball courts
Resurface sports courts — restripe existing tennis courts to provide futsal and pickleball courts at existing park facilities or school properties (4 courts)
San Lu Rae
Shade shelter with picnic tables
Site preparation
Bathroom facilities
Shade structures
Park amenities (concrete surfaces, benches, bike racks, sewer connection, electrical services, landscaping, picnic tables, lighting, etc) 
Softball and soccer field renovations 
Splash pad — poured in place surfacing with colored concrete surfacing


*Costs were recently updated by city staff.   

It’s important to note that if the millage is passed in November, individual projects will still need to be presented and approved by the City Commission. This process may include separate public feedback opportunities.   

The total cost of the improvements is estimated at nearly $6.4 million. To cover possible contingencies, the millage would allow the City to borrow up to $7 million by approving a new millage levy of 0.53 mills. Because the Wealthy Pool millage, currently 0.1955 mills, will expire after the 2021 summer levy, the new parks improvement millage would mean an increase of just over 0.3 mills for property owners.  

A debt millage is levied for the purpose of paying the principal and interest on a bond for the construction and renovation of infrastructure and other capital assets. The City would borrow only what is needed to cover the actual project costs, which means the final amount could be less than $7 million. 

Based on the estimated project costs and the City’s current taxable value, it would equal a levy of 0.53 mills for a 20-year term. In future years, as the City’s tax base grew, the millage rate would be 0.5 mills or lower. For a home with a $200,000 taxable value, it would be an additional $106 a year. Here’s what 0.5 mills would mean for other homeowners: 

Home Value
Taxable ValueAnnual Cost

The parks improvement millage would go into effect July 1, 2022 at the earliest and last 20 years


May 17: Millage proposed to the City Commission for initial discussion 

June 7: City Commission to continue discussing the millage; potential action requested 

June 10: First public engagement session open to all residents and community members 

June 23: Second public engagement session open to all residents and community members

June 30: Third public engagement session open to all residents and community members



What did we miss? We're crafting FAQs to help all community members understand this millage proposal. Fill out our form so we can add your questions to the list.