City of Grand Rapids
Joe Taylor Park, a 2.2 acre oasis in the middle of the city’s North Baxter neighborhood, was once a blighted enclave of drug trafficking, poverty and absentee landlords. The park was started in 1976, when 11 tax-reverted lots were seeded over for a pocket park. In 2003, city officials doubled the size of the park by purchasing four more homes in the block, and building an underground treatment reservoir on the site to treat and drain storm water from the neighborhood.
OCBA developed a master plan for Joe Taylor Park as part of the Green Grand Rapids Master Plan process. The planning process was conducted in a participatory manner, with OCBA conducting a design charrette to solicit public input, develop and test ideas for the park.
Once the master plan was complete, OCBA worked with the City and neighbors to refine the design of this kid-friendly park. The amenities include a picnic shelter, playground for young children, seating areas and a spray park, as well as public restrooms, a “pervious” parking lot that soaks up rainwater, LED security lighting and a system that recycles spray pad water to irrigate the park’s trees and lawn areas.