Community reclaims Joe Taylor Park after shooting

Posted at 9:13 PM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 21:19:39-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The City of Grand Rapids is having free park events this summer to encourage community safety.

This comes after a shooting at Joe Taylor Park at the end of June. Grand Rapids has rolled out a number of programs to help encourage community safety in city parks. 

“This park belongs to the neighborhood, to the community,” Special Events Director Evette Pittman said.

On Wednesday, it was story time in the park. Every kid left with a free book. But that’s just the start.

“They are so important, because it’s all about the community. Having the community come back out and activate their parks. So we’re having activities out here for people to enjoy,” Pittman said.

Kids also got to play basketball at the park, with people like local youth basketball coach Dominic Shannon.

He runs an outreach program that aims to help young people through giving them a positive outlet with sports, called All-In Sports. 

“It’s important to make our presence felt, because the kids need something to believe in,” Dominic Shannon said.

For Shannon, it’s important to let kids know, they can overcome whatever obstacle comes their way, and reaching out to them at events like this one is a big part of that.

“Obstacles don’t define you if you let it, and that’s what we want to continue to do, is push kids in the right direction,” Shannon said.

The events will go through the rest of the summer to promote community safety.