Christman Partners with Local School to Transform Parking Lot into Community Green Space

Christman Partners with Local School to Transform Parking Lot into Community Green Space

On Friday, September 30, the West Michigan community celebrated a new green space in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. The natural, engaging outdoor public space will be used for play, learning and building community. Located at the Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to honor those that contributed to the project.

Christman partnered with the Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center to turn what was formerly a 30,000 s.f. unused concrete parking lot into valuable green space for both students and surrounding community members. As part of Christman’s Be Constructive program that focuses on supporting local community initiatives, the team was happy to be able to gift the project’s construction management services to the school. Christman also utilized its self-perform capabilities to complete a portion of the project.

The greening project was generously supported by more than 150 individuals from the community, including area foundations, contractors and businesses. Teamed with design partner Nederveld, Christman partnered with numerous trade contractors to make this project possible, including Velting Contractors, Kent Companies, Twin Lakes Nursery, Fence Consultants of West Michigan, Van Dam Iron Works, Superior Asphalt, and Winchel Irrigation.

This project was cultivated over several years, with seed funding from the Dyer Ives Foundation. Through the use of a matching fund, supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, the de-paving process began as soon as the necessary funds were secured.

From Concrete to Green
The focus of the greening project was to:

  • De-pave a majority of the concrete parking lot (30,000 s.f. or .7 acres)
  • Offer an open and accessible community and public green space for the students and surrounding neighborhoods
  • Divert and reuse rainwater (for sustainability and teaching)
  • Improve traffic congestion and make safe walkways
  • Create natural play structures, outdoor play areas, community and meeting areas, and outdoor classrooms
  • Provide students with a place for movement, creative thinking and engagement with nature

For more information on the Greening Project and the positive impact it will have on the school’s students, staff and surrounding community members, please click here to visit the project’s Patronicity page.

Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center

The Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center (GRCDC) is a K-5 Public Charter Academy located in the heart of Grand Rapids. The GRCDC believes in education based on relationships and uses the Reggio Emilia approach which encourages curiosity, discovery and connectedness. This creates connection with not only students, teachers and families, but the community at-large. Over 250 students attend the school, which is the only public school chartered by Grand Rapids Public Schools. For more information on the Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center, please visit

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