Tag Archives: Kentwood Parks and Recreation Department

Kentwood 50: Railtown’s golden ale a natural fit for celebration

Railtown Brewing’s Gim Lee, at the brewery’s tap room, will be serving up some spacial Kentwood 50 golden ale this year. (K.D. Norris/WKTV)

By K.D. Norris



Following the City of Kentwood’s special City Commission meeting Monday, held as the kickoff event of the year-long Kentwood 50 celebration of the city’s 50th anniversary, the reception was held at Railtown Brewing Company and the beer of choice was — naturally — a golden ale brewed with a touch of mango.


Two reasons for the beer being the natural choice of the celebration: a 50-year anniversary is considered a “golden” anniversary, and the brew was the pick of some staff at the city’s Park and Recreation Department, which has, shall we say, a relationship with the 2-year-old Railtown.


The addition of the mango flavor? Well, the parks people also liked it so that was good enough for the brewery.


“A lot of the Kentwood Parks and Recreation Department are actually mug clubbers here, they have a mug on the wall over there, they are just regulars,” said Gim Lee, who along with his partner Justin Buiter opened the brewery in late 2014. “They are friends and they asked if we would like to do something special (for the anniversary celebration) and we said ‘absolutely.’


“A group of them came, we sat down and collaborated on what they were celebrating and what kind of beer would work with that. They threw a whole bunch of different styles on the table, what they might want to try. They, as a team, actually landed on the golden ale — this is their golden 50th — and the mango being a golden fruit, that would be a perfect pairing. They wanted something unique and mango is a flavor not used too frequently.”


Railtown is located at 3555 68th St., in Dutton but just across the border with Kentwood. Since it opened it has grown to be a 3,500-square-foot space at the east end of the Village Mall plaza. The brewery’s tap room has 10 taps and usually 10 different brews available, and it has started to distribute kegs to other restaurants.


While the special Kentwood 50 brew was tapped at Monday’s invite-only opening ceremony reception, Lee said it would be available to the public — just maybe not until they brew up some more.


“We will have it on and off throughout the year, so people should be able to come in here and get it through the rest of the week — assuming we do not blow it out that first night,” he said. “We’ll see.”


If you fill the special Kentwood 50 growler at Railtown Brewing a donation will be made to the city’s Park and recreation department. (Supplied)

Also debuting on the night of the reception were growlers with a special logo, which are part of the brewery’s continuing support of the Kentwood 50 event. The brewery will be donating a portion of its growler sales as the celebration continues.


“We are raising some money for the parks and recreation department by doing this,” Lee said. “When you buy a growler, we will be donating a couple bucks back to parks and recreation every time you fill that growler, regardless of what beer it is. It doesn’t have to be the golden ale. This will be an on-going promotion.”


As far as the process of developing the new brew, Lee admitted it was pretty much like Railtown decides on any beer it brews — they like to drink it, so they know other people will like to like to drink it. Although, he said, this time they had to satisfy more tastebuds than just the staff’s.


“We have brewed golden ales, we have done a lot of that. That part is easy,” he said. “We took a different golden ale, we racked it off to what is called a firkin, a 10-gallon cask, it is an old-fashioned way of serving beer. In the firkin you can dose whatever you want in it, that is part of the fun of using a firkin — you can add a little fruit, extra hops, a little coffee, whatever you want. It is a really good way to experiment with different flavors. … based on that, that flavor profile, we can scale it up to a bigger scale” for brewing.


“The (Kentwood 50) beer has been done for quite a while, and that was intentional,” he said. “I wanted to make sure if they did not like it at all, I would have time to brew something else if I had to. Its been done for a month. They came in and tried it, and I tried it, and my brewers tried it. We all thought it was pretty nice.”

For more information on Railtown Brewing Company, call the taproom at 616-881-2364 or visit railtownbrewing.com (leads to a Facebook page).


Kentwood 50: Registration deadline for Kentwood’s Got Talent coming up quickly

The registrations deadline for the Kentwood’s Got Talent is only a week away.


Those interested in singing, dancing, or making people laugh, need to register by March 3. The event is part of the Kentwood 50th Anniversary celebration, which kicks off on Monday, Feb. 27, with a special City Commission meeting that marks when Kentwood’s first City Commission meeting took place 50 years ago. Registration forms can be found at www.yourkprd.org and may be sent in online through the website or mailed to Kentwood Activities Center, 355 48th St. SE., Kentwood.


The Kentwood’s Got Talent is a talent show with first round auditions set for Thursday, March 9, from 6 – 8 p.m. at the KDL Kentwood (Richard L. Root) Branch, 4950 Breton SE.


The contest is open to anyone ages six and up with adults and seniors encouraged to participate. A person may participate in one act, a solo or group. All acts are limited to five minutes. The event is family friendly, so music selection should be appropriate for all audiences. The Talent Committee does reserve the right to refuse materials or acts due to mature content.


Complete guideline details are available at www.yourkprd.org.


First round winners will be notified and will move on to the finals which will take place during the city’s weekend-long celebration in August. The Kentwood’s Got Talent final round is set for Aug. 11 from 7 – 9 p.m. at Kentwood City Hall, 4900 Breton SE.

It’s all about the ‘play’ at Kentwood Parks and Recreation

It is probably most fitting that the month of July is Parks and Recreation Month. The only full month of summer when the weather is nice enough to be outside and do something. And for many individuals, the best place to do that something is at a local park.


So in honor of July being Parks and Recreation Month, I decided —in a two-part series — to check out what is happening in both the cities of Wyoming and Kentwood when it comes to parks and recreation. 


This piece focuses on Kentwood. To check out the Wyoming Parks and Recreation Department story, click here.


Game time: P.L.A.Y! coordinators get ready for an afternoon of fun.
Game time: P.L.A.Y! coordinators get ready for an afternoon of fun.

By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma


Come and play is the mantra of the Kentwood Parks and Recreation Department as it launched one of its newest programs this year, Positive Leadership Activities for Your or P.L.A.Y!


During the week, the P.L.A.Y! mobile vehicle visits one of five Kentwood parks: Veterans Park on Monday; Northeast Park on Tuesday; Home Acres Park on Wednesday; Kelloggswoods Park on Thursday and Pinewood Park on Friday. P.L.A.Y! coordinators bring games, art supplies, and every ball imaginable —basketballs, soccer balls, gym balls, footballs — with the goal of providing free, fun activities for area students.


“It is designed to give kids something to do during the summer,” said Scott Cogswell, one of the P.L.A.Y! leaders who also has background in elementary physical education and runs a ski and snowboard shop in Jenison.


P.L.A.Y! is a drop-in program and being new, the numbers have been low, Cogswell said, adding that coordinators are seeing returning children especially now that the students know when and where P.LA.Y! will be.


“It is a fun and free thing for families,” said Kentwood resident Naomi Miller. Miller said she had planned to check it out after seeing a flyer about the program at Home Acres Park. “Sometimes when you are heading out to the park you don’t know if there will be a friend. This way, you know there will be someone to play with.”


Some students play a game in the shade at Kelloggwoods Park.
Some students play a game in the shade at Kelloggwoods Park.


Since the beginning of the American Parks and Recreation system — which actually dates back to the early 1900s — the goal of any Parks and Recreation program has been to reach and fill the leisure needs of its community with both R.E.A.C.H. and P.L.A.Y! being excellent examples of how the Kentwood Parks and Recreation Department is doing just that.


But providing community program is only one part of what a Parks and Recreation Department offers in any city like Kentwood or Wyoming. Parks and Recreation, developed more than a 100 years ago, through a growing concern for leisure activities and has four components that are still the main focus: adult education, parks, voluntary organizations and playgrounds. Around 1935, many states were passing laws allowing local municipalities to operate parks and recreation departments and by the early 1940s, organized recreation services were firmly established in American life.


Kentwood Parks and Recreation Department oversees 16 parks that includes two trailheads at Stauffer Station and Wing Station and is currently following a five-year plan for capital improvements for the parks, Dawson said. In fact establishing that plan was one of the first things Dawson did when she joined the Parks and Recreation Department a couple of years ago.


Having some fun on the playground at Kelloggwoods Park.
Having some fun on the playground at Kelloggwoods Park.

By utilizing a mixture of community block grants and other grant money, the Department has been able to add new playground equipment at various parks along with work on basketball and tennis courts at Old Farm Park. Just like Wyoming’s Ideal Park, Kentwood’s Kelloggswood Park was hit by the 2014 tornado with it receiving upgraded bleachers and benches and a picnic shelter.


But it has been community involvement in the Parks and Recreation Department that has helped to determine some of the programs and improvements such as the dog park at Kelloggswood Park and the Farmers Market which operates every Saturday morning by city hall, Dawson said. Another example of this community involvement is the tee pads for the disc golf course at Old Farm Park.


“Disc golf is popular in the community and it was the owner of GR Hobby and Disc Golf who came to us about the need for concrete tee pads,” Dawson said. Through a series of tourney fundraising effort, the $8,000 needed was raised with players and residents enjoying the upgrade.


While halfway through its five-year plan, Dawson said working with residents and community leaders to determine needs and wants has been the key so that everyone — no matter ability, age, or skill — has has the opportunity to play, she said.

Santa Comes to You at the Drive-Thru

Santa waiting to spread Christmas cheer to all the Children ready to hear!
Santa waiting to spread Christmas cheer to all the Children ready to hear!

Cars full of kids made their way to the Kentwood Activities Center this past Friday night. It was chilly, but the weather was clear of any wet particles falling from the sky, and everyone was bundled up as needed for a brand new event held by the Kentwood Parks and Recreation Department. Instead of the children and their families hustling out of the vehicles and darting towards the activity center, they stayed in the car as the event was brought to them.

How often does Santa take the time to meet with you from the warmth of your own car on a cool December evening? Since we know all about his vehicle of choice (a sleigh) and the horse…er… deer power that pulls it from chimney to chimney, Santa decided to take an interest in the cars of the citizens of Kentwood. The big man greeted all those willing to see him with a HO HO HO!

However, Santa wasn’t the only one eager to meet new people, everyone’s favorite snowman Olaf was there as well. Yes, I would like to build a snowman!

In the end, over 100 kids experienced a new way to interact with Santa. It was one more time for the children to share their Christmas wishes with Santa and also make mention of their yearlong good behavior. No coal for anybody this Christmas!

  • Seeing Santa was twice as nice
  • The Kentwood Parks and Rec Crew put on a Drive-Thru to bring Santa to you
  • A dog driving a car doesn't seem so strange to a man used to being pulled around by Reindeer!
  • Cars lined up for a chance to meet with Jolly Ol' Saint Nic
  • Olaf took some time off his busy schedule to visit the City of Kentwood
  • He's a favorite of the little ones...
  • ...and the big kids like him too!

Drive-Thru Santa from the Comfort of your Car

Drive-Thru SantaTechnology makes everyday life go faster. Automobiles and airplanes allow us to travel much quicker than horses and boats, the internet keeps us up to date on daily events at the drop of a hat, and cell phones allow communication to flow quickly and effortlessly. The need for speed creeps into all aspects of everyday life, including visiting Santa.

Wait a minute, visiting Santa?

Here comes Drive-Thru Santa Claus, an event put on by the Kentwood Parks and Recreation Department. Visitors have the opportunity to drive to the “North Pole” and get a picture taken with Santa from the comfort of their own car! From there you can talk to Santa, take a selfie, and then drive safely out of the lot and on your merry way.

A new tradition bound to make a quick, effortless, and unique Christmas experience.

If the idea of a Drive-Thru Santa piques your interest, make sure to stop by the Kentwood Activities Center from 6-8pm on Friday, December 11. The cost is $3 per car, cash only, and the last car will be admitted at 7:45pm.

Santa takes time out of his busy day to fly his sleigh to your house on Christmas, the least you can do is drive your car to see him. Make sure to bring your selfie stick!

Four-Legged Friends will have Space to Roam and Play in Kentwood

dogparkThe City of Kentwood will officially have its first dog park this Saturday, November 21 after a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m.

The park, located in Kelloggwoods Park at 275 Kellogg Woods Drive, was an idea brought by residents to the Kentwood Parks and Recreation Department. Together, the community was able to identify a need for a dog park and Kentwood Parks and Rec put together a business plan back in March to make it happen.

The park cost $15,650 and was funded through the park millage. Featured at the park are off-leash areas for both big and small dogs, dog-waste bins, water spigots and benches.

Mayor Stephen Kepley will give a speech at the grand opening. The ceremony will start at 10 a.m.

Don’t forget to bring your pooches and puppies!

Make sure to stop by the site next week to check out footage from the event.

Trunk or Treat 2015 brings Seasons Treatings

Tractor rides at Trunk or Treat


On the morn of October 24th, a truckload of cute ghouls and characters appeared outside the Kentwood Public Works Garage. They shambled and moved in unison with a hunger, for seasonal treats. It was Halloween time and that meant Trunk or Treat had arrived.

The event was put on by Kentwood Parks and Recreation in association with many local organizations including Kent District Library, the Fun Spot, and the local police and fire departments, of course.

The event had much to offer for all in attendance. There were the treats, of course, but also warm cider and donuts for sale, a bouncy castle, a clownish DJ playing assorted holiday favorites like “Thriller” and the “Addams Family Theme”, and tractor rides on the way out.

Mr. President!

In attendance that crisp morning was Mayor Stephen Kepley, or rather, Mr. President. Dressed in deluxe Abe Lincoln attire, the mayor was most gracious in handing out treats and goodie bags for the festive multitudes. Asked afterwards about his thoughts on this year’s event, “It was a really great turnout. We only expected around eight-hundred or a thousand, but I surmise we at least doubled that estimate this morning.”

There had been a warning of rain that morning, so the event had actually been moved from its original location to an indoor locale, just in case the weather made a turn.

Representing the police department, Officer J. Morningstar dispensed candy to passing minions, ninjas, superheroes, and even a cupcake!

Attendance proved so numerous that halfway into the two-hour showcase, a supply run had to be made, as sweets were in such high demand!

A miniature horse was also in attendance, representing Karin’s Horse Connection, a group who specializes in equestrian riding as well as vaulting, gymnastics on top of moving horses.

‘Twas a fantastic event that got the community involved and cemented a genuine Halloween atmosphere in the township. Good job, Kentwood Parks and Rec.

  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
    So many people!
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
    McGruff the Crime Dog teams up with Officer Morningstar for the festivities.
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
    Officer J. Morningstar dispenses candy to a passing princess.
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
    A costumed princess comes'a treating
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
    The line of eager participants kept growing throughout the morning.
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
    A packed house indeed.
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
    Mr Mayor, erm, I meant Mr. President hands out treats to a grateful ninja.
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
    Pumpkin Racers, start your gourds!
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
    Ooo, Spooky!
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
    Wait for it...
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
    Firehounds gotta stick together.
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
    I dunno if I can trust this DJ. Seems spooky.
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
    And the award for cutest confection goes to...
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
    Godzilla, much cuter than previously thought.
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
    Look at this tiny horse! Look At It!
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
    Rooby-Rooby Doo!
  • Trunk 'r Treat 2015
    Hayrides were free with entry.

Wyoming and Kentwood Communities Rally for Fun & Fitness Walk

by Cities of Wyoming and Kentwood



On Saturday, June 7, area residents are invited to gather at Kent County’s Millennium Park for a one- or two-mile trail Fun & Fitness Walk as part of the Walk in the Park campaign to help celebrate National Trails Day®.   It is one of more than 2,000 celebratory activities planned nationwide.


The Fun & Fitness Walk is hosted in conjunction with the Cities of Wyoming, Walker, and Kentwood Parks and Recreation Departments, Kent County, the West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and MI Big Green Gym, a partnership between the Michigan Recreation and Park Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources designed to promote being active in parks and as part of a healthy lifestyle.


“Michigan’s beautiful parks and recreation areas provide affordable and accessible places for residents to be active and practice a healthy lifestyle,” said Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll.  “What better time to take advantage of our wonderful outdoor resources than National Trails Day!”


The national Walk in the Park event will begin at 9:00 a.m. Registration will be on-site the morning of the event. Sponsor Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will provide water and snacks. Strollers are permitted; however, pets are not allowed. Area parks and recreation departments and trail advocacy groups will be on hand to share information on local walking clubs and trails.


Since 1993, National Trails Day® has inspired millions of individuals and community groups to take part in activities that promote healthy living and provide an opportunity to experience and enjoy our nation’s cherished green space, trails, and outdoor lands. Organized by the American Hiking Society and local communities, National Trails Day® events bring together outdoor enthusiasts across the country for a variety of activities including trail maintenance, hiking, paddling, biking, horseback riding, running, and more. More than 2,000 events are planned for the 2014 day, which is the 22nd annual celebration, designed to raise awareness of America’s magnificent trail system and its countless supporters and volunteers.


A list of all Walk in the Park events can be found at www.MIBigGreenGym.org.


The MI Big Green Gym initiative is a partnership between the Michigan Recreation and Park Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, designed to promote our state’s endless opportunities to get active. Learn more about MI Big Green Gym at www.MIBigGreenGym.org.


American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® is a nationally recognized trail awareness program that occurs annually on the first Saturday of June and inspires the public to discover, learn about, and celebrate trails while participating in outdoor activities, clinics, and trail stewardship projects.  National Trails Day® is a registered trademark of American Hiking Society. Learn more about National Trails Day® at www.americanhiking.org/national-trails-day.


To learn more about the City of Wyoming walk club call 530-3190, email parks_info@wyomingmi.gov


or visit www.wyomingmi.gov for local park and trail information.