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Sledding and stories at the library Jan. 3

Sledding and stories at the library Jan. 3

GREENVILLE, Mich.—Enjoy a full morning of sledding and stories during Flat River Community Library’s Winter Sledding Event Friday, Jan. 3.

The Great Start Collaborative of Montcalm County and the library are teaming up for the event, which begins at 10 a.m.  Participants can bring their own sled or use sleds donated by Meijer.  Sledding will take place on the hill across from the library.  After some fun on the slopes, participants are invited to come inside for story time with hot chocolate and cookies.

Pre-registration is required.  To register, click here or call (616) 754-6359.

Fred Meijer Flat River Rail Trail project gets the green light

Fred Meijer Flat River Rail Trail project gets the green light

BELDING, Mich.—The Belding City Council is clearing the way for work on the Fred Meijer Flat River Rail Trail.

On November 19, city council members unanimously approved a contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation to renovate and pave more than two miles of the abandoned rail corridor, from M-44 to Long Lake Road.   The deal provides the city with a $1 million grant for the work.

If all goes well, work would start April 14, 2014.  The entire project should be finished by August 1. 

Rivertown Bike Week Expo scaled back for 2015

Rivertown Bike Week Expo scaled back for 2015

BELDING, Mich.--- Organizers of a motorcycle event that’s expected to attract tens of thousands of bikers to Belding are scaling back their plans.

The city council recently approved holding Rivertown Bike Week Expo from July 17, 2015 to July 19, 2015.  City Manager Meg Mullendore says organizers hope shortening the event and planning it further out will help them secure sponsorships.

The organizers of the expo are part of the same group that began planning Rivertown Bike Week in Grand Rapids in 2010, but had to repeatedly delay the event because of regulations and a lack of sponsors.  They tried moving it to July 2014 in Belding, but ended up postponing the event again after failing to secure venues and sponsorships in time.

Mullendore says organizers are still hoping to attract 35,000 people downtown, despite shortening the event from five days to two days.  

Former home of Electrolux to be cut out of Belding's Historic District

Former home of Electrolux to be cut out of Belding's Historic District

BELDING, Mich.--  The empty lot that was once home to a thrumming Electrolux plant will soon be cut out of Belding’s historic district.

The city plans to remove the site from its historic district as part of an agreement with the company. In turn, the business will give the city funding to maintain the property, which will eventually become a green space. The change to Belding’s historic district is expected to take effect December 17.

Right now Electrolux is remediating soil on the site.  Michigan’s Department Environmental Quality must sign off on the cleanup before the fence will come down and the public will be allowed on the lot.

City Manager Meg Mullendore says the property will always be owned by Electrolux but the city will have exclusive rights to use the site.

Tribute to Korean War veterans dedicated in Belding

Tribute to Korean War veterans dedicated in Belding

BELDING, Mich.—Another piece of a veterans' memorial park in Belding is now in place.

Volunteers with the Belding Freedom Wall group dedicated a permanent monument to the veterans of the Korean War on Veterans Day. The monument sits next to the Belding historical depot building.  Organizer Denny Craycraft says about 200 people attended the event, including many war veterans from the surrounding area.

The new monument is a piece of black granite from India, which has been carved into the shape of Korea. It features the story of a fallen soldier from Ionia County.  The monument stands next to Belding’s historic WWII wall, which was reconstructed then dedicated during Veterans Day 2012. That wall features more than 700 names of local veterans who fought in WWII.

Craycraft says the organization is about half-way done with paying off the $7,800 Korean Monument, through donations. 

Senator Jansen decides against congressional run

Senator Jansen decides against congressional run

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—  Republican Senator Mark Jansen says he will not join the race for Congressman Justin Amash’s seat next year.

“I have decided at this time my focus will continue to help Michigan find the road to recovery, from Grand Rapids to Detroit to the Upper Peninsula to our lake shores,” Jansen said. ”Right now I really feel the call to continue helping Michigan’s recovery as my Senate term ends in 13 short months.”

Jansen says he has been “strongly encouraged” to run for the 3rd Congressional District seat for the past two years.  He believes people want the same level of reform achieved in Michigan to happen in Washington.

Jansen represents the northern portion of Kent County.  The U.S. 3rd Congressional District includes Belding, Rockford, Lowell, East Grand Rapids, Walker, Ada and Cascade, Alpine Township, Sparta, Plainfield Township and all of Grand Rapids.

Belding treasure wins funding for expansion

Belding treasure wins funding for expansion

BELDING, Mich.—  A park that celebrated its official opening exactly one month ago is now getting ready to expand.

The founders of SMASH Park in Belding announced Wednesday that the Greenville Community Foundation has decided to fund a nine-hole expansion to the disc golf course. 

SMASH Park was created in memory of Cody Moore, who loved to play disc golf with his friends and talked about adding a course to Lightning Bend Park in Belding.  Moore passed away unexpectedly on June 9, 2012.