Park goers not happy with ‘disgusting’ algae covering Richmond Park pond

Posted at 5:14 PM, Jun 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-11 18:56:56-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Two years ago Grand Rapids residents voted for a tax millage to improve the city's parks, playgrounds and pools.

The Novemeber 2013 millage provides stable funding for parks that would last until 2020 and costs the average homeowner about $44 a year.

Some who live by and frequent Richmond Park are upset because they don't think their park is being taken care of the way it should be. They say growing algae on the pond is becoming an eye sore.

City officials told FOX 17 News over the phone that for now, it's not a budget priority and nothing is being done about cleaning the algae off.  The Parks and Recreation Department said it’s a natural occurrence every single year. They are aware of the complaints and what it looks like, but they said it happens every year around this time.

A lot of the department's budget is going toward recreational activities in the parks, but that doesn’t mean residents of the area and those who visit the park daily aren’t upset about it.

Sharon Koolsterman and her dog Sweet Pea would be seen here last summer, and many summers before that, but you won’t see them here this summer.

“I’ve never seen it this bad,” said Koolsterman.

Koolsterman has lived in the area for 68 years and she said she's never seen this much green film cover the pond.

“We voted to take better care of the parks and look they aren`t taking care of it. It is disgusting here the way it looks,” she said.

Koolsterman is talking about the tax increase to improve parks that was passed in November 2013.

The city says the algae isn’t toxic, but other states like Alxandria, MN has had some cases of dogs dying from toxic algae.

Biology experts from Grand Valley State University who say very few forms of algae are toxic. In fact, most forms are beneficial, and fish feed off of it. They say the only way to know if it is toxic is to test it. Whether the algae is toxic or not, Koolsterman isn’t taking any risks.

The city says they are looking for an environmentally friendly ways to treat the pond since fish live in it. Koolsterman just hopes she doesn’t have to look at the green covering for much longer