There are lots of opportunities to make Belknap Lookout a better place to live! Here are some recurring and upcoming projects:

Collaborative Garden – Neighbors on the east side of the neighborhood have been gathering since 2017 at the vacant lot at 762 North to divide up plots and meet up monthly to do gardening chores together before enjoying a community potluck (gatherings on hiatus due to COVID). Here are the 2021 Garden Guidelines. Apply for your plot now (printable version here). Please continue to take whatever precautions are important to ensure your own comfort and safety while gardening, including wearing a mask. View CDC instructions for DIY options here.

Caring for the Linear Park – We have taken on the long term irrigation of the Linear Park on Hastings thanks to a large donation from Spectrum Health. We have found that this strip is also in need of weeding during the summer season. If someone wanted to adopt the space for that purpose, it would be welcome!

Dumpster Day – The City of Grand Rapids provides several dumpsters one day a year for neighbors to dispose of large scale trash items. It always helps to have several extra pairs of hands in the weeks prior to distribute flyers and on the day of to help unload large items. If we’re particularly prepared, we can arrange pick up of objects that neighbors can’t transport and go looking for items that have been dumped around the neighborhood.

Spaying and Neutering Feral Cats – We use C-SNIP to spay and neuter the feral cats caught by neighbors using our cat traps. Contact us if you would like to get in touch with the neighbor heading up this project. There is still good information at Carol’s Ferals website about why we trap-neuter-return and how to trap cats. Project funded by GVSU PILOT.

Trash Cans –  We have a wonderful cadre of volunteers dedicating their time to regularly emptying the trash cans placed by the Rapid at bus stops. This is another of our GVSU PILOT projects. If you would like to relieve one of the volunteers entirely or offer to trade off weeks, please let us know.

AND MUCH MUCH MORE: We’ll have several more beautification events which may consist of simple tasks like picking up litter, trimming vegetation, and planting decorative annuals, bulbs, and perennials. With a dedicated core of volunteers, we could even help arrange shoveling snow in the winter for elderly residents. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and/or join our email list to get invitations to these kinds of fun and meaningful events. Have an idea for other improvements the neighborhood could use? Let us know for future allocations. You can also take action with a few of your neighbors and apply to Friends of Grand Rapids Parks for free street trees or the City of Grand Rapids’ Neighborhood Match Fund.

Have other skills we should be using? – We can accept help with many kinds of projects! If you’re a people person, you can get in touch with current members or go introduce the organization to neighbors we haven’t met. If you like getting your hands dirty, you can work on upkeep of the yard and building. There really is something for everyone. Know what you want to do? Aren’t sure yet? Doesn’t matter – contact us!

Volunteer for other organizations working in the neighborhood

You might consider volunteering with many of the groups listed as resources on the Resident page. Or, if there is an area of City or County government that interests you, think about applying to serve on the relevant board or commission. In addition, Coit Creative Arts Academy typically needs volunteers specifically during recess, while East Leonard Elementary needs one-on-one reading companions during the school day; keep in mind you will need to apply to become a volunteer for the district. You can also address City infrastructure by adopting a hydrant or choosing a catch basin buddy. If trees or parks are more your thing, check out Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.

NOBL’s neighborhood leadership development activities are a City of Grand Rapids Community Development-funded Program. Return to our programs page to evaluate our content for grant reporting.