Grand Rapids installs new climbing walls at Highland Park

The park was selected for the location of the twin rock structure primarily because of its potential to positively impact the community of Grand Rapids.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Climbing fans should start celebrating, as a new kind of structure is now open in Grand Rapids.

Two block structures, located in Highland Park, were announced by The City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department Thursday.

Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that does not require ropes because the walls are shorter than typical rock climbing walls.

“We strive to bring innovative and unique projects to Grand Rapids parks, and the Rock Climbing Walls accomplishes that,” said David Marquardt, director of parks and recreation for the city. “It’s one of the many ways we provide new and accessible experiences for residents.”

Highland Park was chosen because of its central city location, natural beauty, vast space and potential to positively impact the neighborhood community.

The Grand Rapids Boulder Project (GRBP) decided to work with local artist Nick Nortier for a mural to be painted on all the rock faces as part of the ArtPrize 2022. It will be completed in September.

Volunteers began working on the block structures in April. With the opening in September, it should remain in the park for three to five years.

“Climbing is something that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities,” said Kyle Heys of the Grand Rapids Boulder Project. “I’m so excited to share my passion for the sport with newcomers and veteran climbers alike.”

The PRD and the GRBP are organizing a grand opening to celebrate July 9 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with the following festivities:

  • 9:00 a.m. – Free “learn and climb” clinic, shoes provided
  • 10:00 a.m. – Family climb with refreshments
  • 11 a.m. – Official Ribbon Cutting
  • 11:15 a.m. – Climbing competition
  • 1:30 p.m. – Free climb

Following this, the GRBP team decided to organize free educational climbing clinics on the first Saturday of each month at 9:30 am. Full details can be found on the GRBP Facebook page.

The project was funded by $20,000 from Parks Millage passed by Grand Rapids voters in 2019 and $10,000 in private donations through GRBP.

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Virginia F. Goins