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Winter East Express

East Express | March 5, 2020


Hello Friends and Neighbors, 

Happy March! Such a hopeful time of year as Spring is finally right around the corner. 

Would you like to keep up-to-date on all the happenings here at the City? Then I want to encourage you to please go to our website and sign up to receive notifications from us. There you have the ability to sign up for any and all notifications you would like to receive, and you can have them sent right to your phone, email or both!  Just a few easy clicks and you can be completely in-the-know on all things EGR. 

I will be hosting the next EGR Talk, Wednesday, March 11 from 5  to 6:30 p.m. at Big Bob’s Pizza. Joining me will be our new 1st Ward Commissioner, Brad Hecksel. Please stop by and say hello if you are able! Brad would like to meet you, and we will both be available to listen and answer any questions you may have. I know there is some confusion and concern out there regarding the marijuana ordinance, so please feel free to take this opportunity to sit down with us, ask questions and discuss. 

My office hours on Monday, March 9 will change to 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. for this day only. I will be leaving in the afternoon to attend the Lakeside grade science fair! Please note this change is only for this day and normal office hours will resume on Wednesday, March 11. I do apologize for any inconvenience. 

Thanks for taking the time and as always, feel free to drop by my office hours on Mondays & Wednesdays from 12 to 5 p.m., or call or email me anytime for an appointment. I hope we can talk soon! 

All the best, 



American Flag


All EGR polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10 for the presidential primary election. You can check your polling location online at the Michigan Voter Information Center or by contacting our offices at 616.949.2110. Sample ballots for each precinct can also be found on our Elections webpage

Michigan law now allows residents to register to vote up to and on election day, but why wait?  Save yourself some time and effort on election day by registering in person at our offices prior to the election. Your registration can be entered into the database by our staff and then your polling location will be able to issue your ballot quickly and efficiently.   

For more information, visit or contact City Clerk Karen Brower at 616.949.2110 or

Please be sure to thank any of the election inspectors you see next Tuesday. These men and women work a very long day to make sure everything is done properly and that every vote counts. Without them, we couldn’t hold in-person elections. 


The City Commission did not make a final decision on the recreational marijuana establishments ordinance at the Monday, March 2 meeting. They will make a final vote on this issue at the Monday, March 16 meeting. 

You can view Monday's meeting on our YouTube channel


To accommodate Spring Break traveling, the Monday, April 6 City Commission meeting has been rescheduled for Monday, March 30 at 6 p.m.  


Due to the Presidential Primary election, the Tuesday, March 10 Planning Commission Meeting has been rescheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11 in the commission chambers. Concept plans for Jade Pig Ventures Gaslight Village development and a Rose’s PUD amendment are on this meeting’s agenda.


Did you know you can sign up to receive notifications when meeting agendas are published? Sign up at to have them delivered straight to your mailbox. Have questions? Give us a call at 616.949.2110. 

Signing up for these alerts, receiving our e-newsletter, and following us on Facebook and Twitter is the best way to stay up to date on the goings-on of EGR. 

Additionally, thanks to the East Grand Rapids Community Foundation, the City now has the professional equipment required to stream our meetings directly to our YouTube channel. You can catch us at 6 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of every month and follow along by pulling up the most recent agenda. Don't forget to subscribe! 



Families with children can enjoy an evening in an enchanted garden at this year’s Sweetheart Dance on Saturday, April 18 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sign up at by April 13 for a $5 discount and additional information. 


Spectrum Health’s 37th Annual Irish Jig will take place at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 21. Please note that the race will begin at the high school gym and will wrap around EGR, making traffic access near the racecourse limited throughout the morning. For more information on the race, please visit the event webpage. 


Our Parks & Rec. Department, which partners with Kent Conservation District, is looking for volunteers to help control several aggressive woody non-native invasive species on park property on March 14 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.   
Stewards will help cut stumps and treat targeted species that are growing unchecked and poisoning wildlife. Volunteers will also learn about winter bud identification and how non-native invasive species alter ecosystem processes in complex ways. All ages are welcome to help, but only those 18 years old and up may treat the stumps. No RSVP is required.   
Questions can be directed to EGR Grounds and Maintenance at 616. 949.1750. For more information, visit our website.  

Reeds Lake Run


Looking to sponsor community-favorite events? Your support is a key component to the success of our races, celebrations and other events. If you are interested in sponsoring or volunteering for the Trail Blazer, Reeds Lake Run or the Triathlon, give us a call at 616.949.2110 and we will direct you to the appropriate race coordinator. 



If you will be traveling, Public Safety encourages you to fill out an Unattended Home form at the department, which provides our officers with your emergency contacts should an event occur while you’re away.

Public Safety also encourages those traveling not to share vacation plans on social media to prevent potential crime. 

Community Engagement Sessions


Mark your calendar for the next community engagement session: Thursday, April 30 at 7 p.m. 

You will have the opportunity to meet your officers, learn more about the department and discuss topics important to EGR. All residents, employees and community members are welcome and encouraged to attend. No RSVP is required. Visit our website or Facebook event for more information.



The EGR Planning Commission unanimously approved a recommendation to the City Commission to accept Blodgett’s revised site plan with conditions. The City Commission will consider a variance and revised site plan at the March 16 City Commission Meeting. To view additional information pertaining to this project, please follow the Blodgett Hospital Construction link located on the City website home page as well as the Planning Commission documents page


On Jan. 31, Public Works sent a letter to residents whose private water service lines may contain lead as have other water systems throughout the State of Michigan. The updated lead/copper rule required a review of records and notification if files indicated that a water service line may consist of lead.  If you did not receive a letter from The City of East Grand Rapids, your service lines have not been identified as needing review.  

We have received multiple phone calls regarding a postcard AquaSafe Water Systems recently mailed to many residents offering free water testing. AquaSafe Water Systems is a private company marketing its services to homeowners and is not affiliated with the City in any way. AquaSafe notes in the postcard that they can provide on-site lead testing results within 15 minutes and that they can then discuss treatment options. It is not possible to conduct accurate on-site testing for lead levels.  City testing results are conducted to stringent EPA and State sample collection and testing standards at certified labs that can take weeks to process.  Please note that the City will always provide advance notice of authorized and approved contractor work or testing to residents.  

For information on lead in EGR, including the letter mentioned above, an FAQ sheet, EGLE-certified laboratory contact information and additional resources, please visit our Water/Sewer Systems webpage.  

AquaSafe Postcard


The Public Works Department provides weekly curb-side yard waste collection services to all EGR residents. This service will commence on the Monday of the first full week of April, which will be April 6 this spring. As a reminder, for the start of spring pickup, the placement of loose leaves in the street is NOT permitted. 

Guidelines for yard waste pickup are: 
  • Grass clippings and small, loose yard debris must be placed in paper yard-waste bags or reusable containers. Plastic bags are not accepted.
  • Bags and containers placed for pickup must not exceed 40 pounds or a 32-gallon capacity. 
  • Ornamental grasses must be tied, bundled and must not exceed 40 pounds.   
  • Brush must be cut into six-foot lengths and tree logs may not exceed 12 inches in diameter.   
  • All items for collection should be placed on the out-lawn (between the curb and sidewalk), not in the street.  
  • Except during the fall leaf collection program, it is preferred that yard waste not be placed out for collection earlier than one day prior to the scheduled day for collection. 
For additional information please visit our Refuse Collection webpage or call Public Works Operations at 616.940.4870. 


City crews fill potholes on a routine basis. When there are freeze and thaw cycles crews are out on a more frequent basis because when these weather cycles occur so do potholes. 

The City proactively targets potholes on routes by targeting streets based on asset management ratings.  Pavement surface evaluation ratings are conducted each year for all city streets on a 1-10 scale, with a 1 rating indicating poor condition and a 10 excellent condition. The City targets proactively filling potholes by going to streets with a paser rating of 1-4, where they are most likely to be found. 

To report potholes, residents can contact Public Works at 616.940.4870 or report them online by going to and selecting the “submit a request” icon on the home page. 
Pothole MDOT evolution of a pothole graphic.


To view projected spring street projects, please click the following link to view our project map


Sanitary and storm sewer mains are currently being lined at various locations throughout the City in accordance with utility asset management plans. Residents in project areas have been notified via mailed notices from the City and have or will be provided with additional door hanger notifications by the contractor in advance of work. For additional information on these projects and others in the City, please visit our Construction webpage


Thinking about doing an addition to your home, but don’t know what you are allowed to do? Check out this residential zoning guide that contains all of the necessary zoning requirements for residential projects. This zoning map will help you identify which residential zoning district your property is in.  


The Grand Valley Metropolitan Council invites the public to comment on the draft 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan. The draft 2045 MTP outlines transportation projects and funding priorities for the next 25 years and addresses all aspects of the system, including road conditions, traffic congestion, safety, freight movement, passenger rail, air travel, non-motorized transportation, and public transit. Financial projections show that $6.8 billion is expected to be available in transportation funding from local, state and federal sources over the next 25 years. The draft 2045 MTP document represents months of work and was developed in collaboration with GVMC Committee members, stakeholders, and the public. GVMC is required by federal law to update the MTP every four years.  

The draft 2045 MTP can be viewed online, and hard copies are also available at GVMC’s office and at libraries within Kent and eastern Ottawa County. Interested citizens can submit comments in person, online, over the phone, or by mail or email. To stay informed about the effort, sign up for regular updates on our public involvement page.   
Individuals with disabilities requiring auxiliary aids for services and those requiring an interpreter or translation service should contact Andrea Faber for assistance. 


Mobility For All is a planning process exploring practical ways to improve our transit system. The Rapid is developing a plan to use available resources to better match where people go with where there is current and future demand for service. 

An online survey will be available through March 13 on the Mobility For All website to provide specific feedback on three scenarios. All scenarios are concepts at this time. The preferred option will likely contain a combination of recommendations from each of the three scenarios, rather than a single scenario in its entirety. The final recommendations will be based on feedback received from the public.  

Additional information about the planning process and each scenario can be found on the Mobility For All website



The Kent County Department of Public Works Recycling & Education Center is scheduling upgrades to improve its efficiency and quality by replacing the mechanical screens used to sort paper. The Recycling Center and Recycling Drop-Off stations are currently closed until Monday, March 16. While the facility closed, they are unable to accept recycling materials for processing. 

For additional information about the project and progress updates, visit or call the dedicated phone line at 616.632.7945. 



Join us for an afternoon of camaraderie to welcome best-selling West Michigan author Wade Rouse to celebrate his new book, Heirloom Gardens. Rouse, the author of both memoirs and fiction, will speak on this latest title penned under the name of his grandmother, Viola Shipman. Books will be available for purchase and signing.  

Pre-registration is required. This event is sponsored by the Friends of the EGR Library

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