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Frederik Meijer Gardens - Expansions/Enhancements

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Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park embarks on $7.6 million in improvements
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk {sodEmoji.|} The Grand Rapids Press March 17, 2008 20:19PM


GRAND RAPIDS -- Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park breaks ground Tuesday on more than $7.6 million worth of improvements.
Press Photo/Adam BirdThe cafe at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park will be expanded with money from the capitol campaign.

A remodeled main entrance, an expanded cafe and a new and permanent tram station are among the improvements scheduled to take place.

But much of the work involves repairing, renovating or expanding infrastructure at the cultural landmark that's attracted more than 4.5 million visitors since opening in 1995.

In recent years, annual attendance at the 132-acre park has doubled to 534,000 last year.


More details of the renovations

Attendance has apparently spiked in recent years to 543,000 visitors/year. I've noticed too recently that we've had to park further and further out in the outer lots (or, I should say I drop the family off and I park in the outer lots).

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I have always loved the Gardens and I am pleased to see the investment! I had no idea that half a million people visit each year!

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Plus they are adding a small (four plots?) burial site. I guess that wouldn't serve as a great enticement for the capital campaign.

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I hope they replace the smelly tram and gas-powered utility trucks with quieter, no-emission electric cars and trams. That always annoys me about the gardens, which are one of my favorite places to visit in the area.

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I'm glad to see this. Meijer Gardens is one of the best things Grand Rapids has to offer culturally.

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I'm glad to see this. Meijer Gardens is one of the best things Grand Rapids has to offer culturally.

Yeah, now all we need is some way for convention visitors staying downtown to get there without needing a car. Hmmm....

I guess there's always the 15 bus.

Edited by fotoman311

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Yeah, now all we need is some way for convention visitors staying downtown to get there without needing a car. Hmmm....

I guess there's always the 15 bus.

Maybe since there was alot of DeVos money that went into the work on the gardens they could have shuttles from the Amway Grand or the Marriot.

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Maybe since there was alot of DeVos money that went into the work on the gardens they could have shuttles from the Amway Grand or the Marriot.

I could be mistaken, but I think for the larger conventions, there are charter buses that take people to Meijer Gardens and Rivertown Crossings ( :rolleyes:) on excursions.

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Seems like the best thread for this.

...a few years back GR Twp approved a future plan for another special land use: a small private cemetery. Memorable quote from the Press piece: "may we ask who is being interred?" (Duh.)

Kudos to Suzanne Geha, who scooped all the media outlets by breaking the news on Facebook.

(frequent flyer: the fridge and cupboards are full of m labels)

Edited by Veloise

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I forgot about this. Anyone know where the cemetery is located? He seemed like a great man. Very thankful for what he did for the community.

Joe

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Sprinkled throughout this board are comments and quotes about smaller-format urban Meijer stores, and how the company is resisting the notion. It will be interesting to see if that might have come from Fred.

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I forgot about this. Anyone know where the cemetery is located? He seemed like a great man. Very thankful for what he did for the community.

Joe

I want to say that it was somewhere back by the little homestead/farm in the back???

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Thought this was interesting. Frederik Meijer Gardens has been buying up properties along the Beltline and Leonard. The Gerontology Network building is being torn down right now (to be used as overflow parking). Now they bought the UAW building and several residential properties along Leonard (plus the golf course). 

 

That is quite a massive footprint for future expansion!

 

http://www.mlive.com/east-grand-rapids/index.ssf/2014/09/post_244.html#incart_related_stories

 

Joe

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Thought this was interesting. Frederik Meijer Gardens has been buying up properties along the Beltline and Leonard. The Gerontology Network building is being torn down right now (to be used as overflow parking). Now they bought the UAW building and several residential properties along Leonard (plus the golf course). 

 

That is quite a massive footprint for future expansion!

 

http://www.mlive.com/east-grand-rapids/index.ssf/2014/09/post_244.html#incart_related_stories

 

Joe

 

 

I saw them tearing down that old bank/geritol building and was kind of sad. That was a really cool example of post modern architecture. I wonder who designed it?

 

And they bought the UAW? That building doesn't look that old.

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I agree. I really liked the building they are ripping down but I give a pass on it as Frederik Meijer Gardens is such a great facility. 

 

UAW doesn't look that old, but I kind of wondered how long they'd need that facility. How many UAW factories are still in operation in West Michigan? I can't imagine there are many (if any at all) now that GM closed all of its factories.

 

Joe

 

I saw them tearing down that old bank/geritol building and was kind of sad. That was a really cool example of post modern architecture. I wonder who designed it?

 

And they bought the UAW? That building doesn't look that old.

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I agree. I really liked the building they are ripping down but I give a pass on it as Frederik Meijer Gardens is such a great facility. 

 

UAW doesn't look that old, but I kind of wondered how long they'd need that facility. How many UAW factories are still in operation in West Michigan? I can't imagine there are many (if any at all) now that GM closed all of its factories.

 

Joe

 

No, they probably don't have nearly the membership they had even 5 years ago (with GM and Delphi both closing locally).

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I figured they were probably looking to sell. The GR and Flint offices merged earlier this year and I'm sure membership has changed significantly since the building opened.

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I'd think at this point, the UAW office would be dealing more with retirees. Probably not a need for a big office on a busy corner (and I'm sure FMG opened the checkbook for this property, so they probably got a decent amount of money for the building).

 

Joe

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So Meijer Gardens is celebrating its 20 year anniversary this year. Anyone else remember all the hubbub about DaVinci's horse replica being built here and the one in Italy? The NY Times or some other international publication dissing Grand Rapids? :) How times have changed.

 

So over the next twenty years..

 

) The new Japanese Gardens area opens this June 2015. I toured it twice during construction and it's pretty incredible, can't wait to see it open. One of only 6 like it in the country I believe. 

) The Gardens has now amassed over 360 acres stretching from the East Beltline all the way to Crahen, almost 1.5 miles long. Sure would like to see a master plan for all of that property. I overlayed the current gardens onto the old golf course property (they tore down the clubhouse recently), and it doesn't even come close to filling in the property. So any expansion would be nearly tripling the size.

 

16602496283_dbefd45f5b_b.jpg

 

 

17036518579_c897503958_b.jpg

 

 

It'd be cool if they added a monorail to connect the two sections, so people wouldn't have to move their cars or walk that distance. Make it more experiential.

 

17035124448_8b4ee06e30_b.jpg

 

 

wp-hamburg-gardenshow-03.jpg?w=1536

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If they cant expand the zoo because of NIMBY carping, this may be the perfect time to make a new pitch for a move out there?

 

My lofty dream would be to see a monorail run from Woodland Mall up the Beltline to the Gardens and then to Celebration Village.

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If they cant expand the zoo because of NIMBY carping, this may be the perfect time to make a new pitch for a move out there?

 

My lofty dream would be to see a monorail run from Woodland Mall up the Beltline to the Gardens and then to Celebration Village.

 

I think the expansion plans are moving along and the zoo ain't moving. 

 

The FMG land is so large, you could actually have 3 "nodes" of visitor attractions. or 4. I can't fathom how they're going to plan this out and expand. There'd have to be some beaucoup dollars behind it.

 

Here's the monorail with 3 stops on it:

 

16603267583_3154012316_b.jpg

 

 

Here's a collection of other botanical gardens. 365 acres puts them in the top 5 in size around the world (it appears). There's one near Philadelphia that is 1000 acres and has a mile long section of greenhouses. 

 

http://10mosttoday.com/10-best-botanical-gardens-in-the-world/

http://www.ecorazzi.com/2012/07/18/the-worlds-8-most-amazing-botanical-gardens/

 

This list mentions FMG:

 

http://blog.tripadvisor.com/blog/2013/04/03/national-garden-month-top-10-u-s-gardens/

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I read somewhere that the Gardens currently doesn't have plans for the former golf course property, and will allow it to revert to a natural setting for now.  With their largest expansion to date wrapping up, I'm sure they need a few years to get their ducks and dollars in a row.  

 

Funny that the golf course still has a website: http://grandrapidsgolf.net/

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I read somewhere that the Gardens currently doesn't have plans for the former golf course property, and will allow it to revert to a natural setting for now.  With their largest expansion to date wrapping up, I'm sure they need a few years to get their ducks and dollars in a row.  

 

Funny that the golf course still has a website: http://grandrapidsgolf.net/

 

They even have a FB page still active! 

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grand-Rapids-Country-Club/160648979967

 

That course had gotten so bad. I golfed it last Fall and the greens didn't even resemble anything close to what a green should look like. And the sewer had backed up in the basement bathrooms which was nice. :)

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They even have a FB page still active! 

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grand-Rapids-Country-Club/160648979967

 

That course had gotten so bad. I golfed it last Fall and the greens didn't even resemble anything close to what a green should look like. And the sewer had backed up in the basement bathrooms which was nice. :)

 

Maybe they were going for that indoor portajohn ambience.

Edited by fotoman311

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