West Michigan Environmental Action Council and Grand Rapids Young Professionals will host the 10th Anniversary Mayors’ Grand River Clean Up on Saturday, September 14 at Sixth Street Park.
Over the past decade, thousands of volunteers have helped pick up more than 110,000 pounds of refuse from the banks of the Grand River and its tributaries, including a record 670 volunteers last year that picked up roughly 20,000 pounds of refuse. The event began in 2003 with a few dozen WMEAC volunteers and Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell cleaning up the river bank in downtown Grand Rapids. It is now arguably the largest event of its kind in the Midwest.
Mayor Heartwell, Walker Mayor Barbara Holt, Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll and Grandville Mayor James Buck will this year host an estimated 800 volunteers to clean up 16 to 20 sites in their respective communities, approximately 30 miles of the Grand River and its tributaries.
Combined with the efforts of another 100 to 150 volunteers at the 18th Annual Thornapple River Cleanup, traditionally held the same morning, and a collaboratively organized Friends of Grand Rapids Parks Day of Caring event, approximately 1,200 volunteers will be donating their time to clean up the Lower Grand River Watershed that weekend.
The 10th Anniversary event will build on the momentum of the record-breaking 2012 clean up and the 1,500-volunteer sandbagging effort in response to the Flood of 2013 this past Earth Day in Grand Rapids, which was organized using Mayors’ Clean Up protocols and volunteers.
The event will again feature an after party sponsored by Founders Brewing Company featuring a musical performance from Big Dudee Roo. All volunteers receive a free T-shirt, breakfast, lunch and refreshments.
Registration opens at 8:30 am with remarks and safety instructions at 9:15 am. A breakfast of donuts, coffee, bagels, cider and fruit will be provided courtesy of Spartan Stores, Bagel Beanery, and other supporters.
Buses and walking groups will leave promptly at 9:35 am.
Lunch will consist of pizza and sandwiches from Grand Rapids Pizza Delivery and other supporters, with refreshments from Coca-Cola and Founders Brewing. The appreciation party begins immediately after the clean up and ends at 2 pm.
Presenting Sponsors include WMEAC, City of Grand Rapids, City of Grandville, City of Walker, City of Wyoming, Dean Transportation, Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids Pizza Delivery, Grand Rapids Young Professionals, Great Lakes Commission, Green Ink Works, Metro Health, Steelcase Inc., ADAC Automotive, Autodie and Calvary Church.
This year’s event is a collaboration of more than 50 partner organizations.