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East Express | June 18, 2020




CITY MANAGER’S OFFICE & FINANCE
COMING TO A NEIGHBORHOOD NEAR YOU: 2020 INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE
Although the City will not hold its annual day-long celebration this year for the health and safety of all involved, staff has planned an event where the community can still honor America’s birthday together by bringing a smaller parade of city vehicles will come to you!

Public Works and Public Safety vehicles will travel 4.5 miles of EGR’s main roads, passing through each of the City’s neighborhoods to avoid congestion along the regular route. This new parade route has been designed to allow everyone to practice social distancing. We ask that you stay near your home and not gather along Wealthy Street.

Stay tuned for additional information including the route map by following the City on Facebook and checking our website. If you have any questions, please contact Parks & Recreation at 616.949.1750.

AUGUST & NOVEMBER ELECTIONS UPDATE
Registered voters should receive an application for an absentee ballot from either the EGR City Clerk’s Office or from the Secretary of State for the August and November 2020 elections. Some voters may receive more than one form due to the Secretary of State’s mailing. You only need to return one form to receive a ballot. If you have not received an application form and wish to receive an absentee ballot for the August election, visit our Absentee Voting webpage

Absentee ballots for the August election will be available in late June.

Absentee voting has been in place for many years and is a safe and secure way of submitting your votes. It allows you to receive your ballot early and take time to research candidates and proposals prior to election day and to avoid lines at the polling place. If you have questions about absentee ballots, the voting process or your voter registration, contact our offices at 616.949.2110 or contact City Clerk Karen Brower at elections@eastgr.org.

If you receive election-related mail for someone that no longer lives at your address, let us know with a phone call to 949.2110, or by writing on the envelope and dropping it by city hall (there’s a 24/7 city dropbox in the vestibule at the main entrance) so that we can update our records.

City Hall

CITY COMMISSION MEETINGS
As allowed by Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-75, the Monday, June 15 City Commission meeting was held virtually via Google Meetings. At this meeting, our elected officials approved Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital's zoning variance and site plan amendment for their new parking garage. The commission also received updates from Public Safety Chief Mark Herald and Parks and Recreation Director Fred Bunn. You can watch the meeting on our YouTube Channel and view its agenda at eastgr.org/agendas.

SUMMER PROPERTY TAXES
Summer property tax bills will be billed on July 1 and are due Aug. 14. Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, for your safety and the safety of our employees, we encourage residents to pay property taxes in one of the following ways:
  • Dropbox: The City has a drop box located in the Community Center vestibule at 750 Lakeside Drive that is available 24 hours a day.
  • Online: Online payments using a savings or checking account (EFT) will be free for the 2020 property tax cycle. Credit and debit card payments may be made online but will still have a 2.75% convenience fee added at the time of the transaction.
  • Mail: Payments must be received on or before the due date. Postmarks are not accepted. If you desire a receipt, send a self-addressed stamped envelope along with both portions of the tax bill or supply an email address on the tax bill stub for an electronic receipt.

KENT COUNTY LAUNCHES SMALL BUSINESSES RECOVERY PROGRAM
Kent County is launching the Kent County Small Business Recovery Program to deliver short-term, financial support to small businesses in Kent County with the purpose of supporting and cultivating a strong economic recovery.

The Grand Rapids Chamber, in partnership with Kent County, will be managing the program. As part of this initiative, East Grand Rapids is proud to engage as a supporting partner. The program will help businesses that have not been able to access, or have been declined local, state or federal relief funds, gain access to additional support to weather the COVID-19 crisis.

We are thrilled to partner on this crucial work. The need for this additional funding is vast, and we are committed to supporting business in their time of need. The first round of applications will open Monday, June 22 to those that have not previously received COVID-19-related aid.

For additional information and requirements please visit the Grand Rapids Chamber website. Contact smallbusinessrecovery@grandrapids.org with any questions.



PUBLIC SAFETY
PUBLIC SAFETY’S COMMITMENT TO THE COMMUNITY
Chief Mark Herald always welcomes discussions with residents and community members, especially regarding racial injustice and police use of force. These discussions are important steps to building trust and strengthening relationships. If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach him by calling the department at 616.949.7010 to continue the conversation.

These topics will be addressed at a work session following the July 6 City Commission meeting with a presentation and discussion around law enforcement and race. Also, the July 23 Public Safety Community Engagement Session at 7 p.m. will focus on this and other topics.

MOPED SAFETY TIPS
With all the extra sunshine of our beautiful Michigan summer, we know many of our younger residents have broken out their mopeds for the season. During the Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order, Officer Collin Wallace created a video with some safety tips to keep them safe and ticket free. We’d encourage you to review this with your teens if they are using a moped.





PARKS & RECREATION
CONCERTS & MOVIES IN THE PARK
We are pleased to share that both summer series are still on! Stay tuned for additional information and safety protocols.

RHOADES MCKEE REEDS LAKE TRIATHLON
Wondering whether the Rhoades McKee Reeds Lake Triathlon is still on? As of now, the answer is yes and registration is still open. We are currently configuring new safety measures and procedures while monitoring CDC and state guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone involved. We plan to reevaluate in mid-July so that our community-favorite event is in accordance with Gov. Whitmer’s MI Safe Start plan. Should we need to cancel, all participants will be refunded in full.

You can learn more and register at eastgr.org/triathlon. Thank you all for your ongoing support — we hope to see you at start line on Sept. 12.

playground

PARKS USE ON THE RISE

Most communities are experiencing “visitor surge” in their parks and East is no exception. It is truly wonderful to see people out enjoying the warm Michigan weather. City staff is working hard keeping our parks clean including trash removal every day of the week. We have added additional trash receptacles to help alleviate overflowing bins or trash being thrown on the ground. Please help us keep our community clean and inviting by disposing your trash and dog waste appropriately in a trash receptacle. We thank you in advance for helping us reduce visible “trash surge.”



PUBLIC WORKS
CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
Construction is underway for the season. Visit our construction webpage for weekly updates on all construction projects.

YARD SIGNS
With the presidential election less than six months away, we ask that you post signs on your property behind the sidewalk. City ordinance prohibits any type of sign in the public right-of-way area in front of the sidewalk. This includes political signs, remodeling contractors, event advertisements, etc.

DUMPSTERS
Temporary dumpsters and other large refuse containers used for construction or cleanup jobs must:
  • Be placed in the driveway and NOT in the street or in any other part of the public right-of-way, including sidewalks.
  • Be registered if used for more than 72 hours. A time limit of six months applies, which may be extended by the zoning administrator. 
To register for free, visit our website.



COMMUNITY PARTNERS
GASLIGHT VILLAGE THANKS YOU
Thank you to all those who have supported and continue to visit our business district during these challenging times. It is thanks to you that our local business owners can operate again!

As we move forward, we ask you remain patient and continue to follow CDC and state guidelines while we work through this adjustment together. Visit gogaslight.com and follow us on Facebook for updates.

REOPENING THE LIBRARY
The library is looking forward to welcoming everyone back on July 6! Until then, you can drop off the books you borrowed before the Stay Home, Stay Safe period and participate in curbside pick-up.

Don’t forget to follow our KDL EGR Branch on Facebook for regular updates!

KDL Reopening plan



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