October 2022 Edition

Greetings from the Mayor's Office

Since my last newsletter, our Department of Public Works team has managed to replace all our old “Welcome to Walker” signs throughout the City. The design, graphics, and color are meant to be very ‘Walker-like’. To expand on that statement, we replaced the old wood signs with more durable and weather-resistant metal signs. The design work has the three trees representing the three wards of the City, as well as the flowing lines underneath representing the Grand River that flows throughout different areas of our City. The darker green and white colors are meant to be easier to see, and of course, we have our City tagline of “A Great Place to Live, Work and Grow”. Overall, the signs are practical, affordable, and blend in well with our city’s green space. All things that one could argue represent our City brand.

As we enter the fall months, we are hitting the halfway point of our City fiscal year (July 1 - June 30). One of my best practices as we pass that six-month mark is to reflect on the annual priorities that I presented at the State of the City in early March. When measuring our progress, I use a simple ‘On Track or Off Track’ report card approach. With that in mind, let’s take a brief look at those five priorities for 2022:

1. Public Safety - we are currently fully staffed with our full-time positions in both the Police and Fire Departments. Both continue to actively recruit for positions that we know we will need soon. We also continue to invest in new equipment and technology that helps keep our residents and businesses safe. ON TRACK

2. Industrial & Commercial Development - this remains a high priority, specifically in our north end industrial corridor. There have been several significant announcements of new developments or redevelopments (ex. Delta Plex) since March. ON TRACK

3. Housing Inventory - because Walker continues to be a desirable place to live, new housing remains a focus and is visibly evident in some areas of the City. However, we maintain an awareness of what our City Master Plan calls for in an area before approving new development. If it aligns, then we move forward. If not, it doesn’t. ON TRACK

4. Fiscal Strength - while the audit of our financials from last year recently started, I can confidently state we should be in a stronger cash reserve position than last year at this time. Furthermore, we are still without any long-term debt. Both items allow us to weather the economic rollercoaster our country is currently riding. ON TRACK

5. Quality of Life - we measure some of this through parks, trails, and recreation programs in the community, as well as the health and vibrancy of our neighborhoods. All of these have been impacted since March with increases in funding and a reintroduction of a new advisory committee. ON TRACK

So, in summary, as we head into the second half of our fiscal year, we remain in a strong position that continues to demonstrate why Walker remains “a great place to live, work, and grow”.

Thank you for making the decision to call Walker home.

Mayor Gary L. Carey, Jr.

Contact Your Commissioners

Mayor Gary Carey, Jr.

(616) 292-1715


Steven Gilbert

Mayor Pro Tem

First Ward Commissioner

(616) 828-7763 sgilbert@walker.city

Thom Burke

First Ward Commissioner

(619) 379-6036 tburke@walker.city

Roxanne Deschaine

Second Ward Commissioner

(616) 885-4191 rdeschaine@walker.city

Jessica Babcock

Second Ward Commissioner

(616) 634-6015


Elaina Huizenga-Chase

Third Ward Commissioner

(616) 334-1900 echase@walker.city

Melanie Grooters

Third Ward Commissioner

(616) 690-1719 mgrooters@walker.city

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Clerk's Department Updates

Absentee Ballots are on their Way

Keep an eye on the mailbox as absentee ballots were sent to the Post Office, September 29. The blue envelope will contain your ballot, instructions, and a secrecy sleeve to protect your vote. You'll mail your ballot back using the green envelope. Keep in mind, if you haven't received an application for an absentee ballot, the Walker Clerk's Office uses dual applications. Voters had the ability to request August AND November ballots. 

If you do not receive your ballot in the mail by October 13th please contact us. 

Michigan.gov/vote is a great resource for your election needs and even allows you to track your ballot.

Income Tax Department Updates

Due Dates

Fourth quarter estimated payments for calendar year 2022 are due January 31, 2023. Forms are available on our website.

Forgotten Returns

If you have past years of Walker returns that you have forgotten to file, contact the tax department immediately at (616) 791-6880. If you file prior year returns and pay the tax and interest due, you may request a waiver of penalty. If the tax department contacts you first regarding unfiled returns, you will not be eligible for a waiver of penalty. We are electronically matching State of Michigan returns filed from a Walker resident address with Walker returns filed. If you have forgotten to file Walker returns from prior years, now is the time to get that cleared up before the letters go out from this matching program.


If you are not sure if you need to file Walker Income Tax returns, the most common questions are answered on our website. You can also call us at (616) 791-6880.

Fire Department Updates


Halloween Costume Safety Tips

When choosing a costume, stay away from long trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so he or she can see out.

Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costumes.

Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters. Dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper catch fire easily.

Use battery-operated candles or glow sticks in jack-o-lanterns.

Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.

Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.

Did you knowDecorations are the first thing to ignite in roughly 800 reported home fires each year. More than one-third of these fires were started by a candle.

Open Burning with Permit

Residential burning is allowed twice a year. The burning season begins on April 15 through May 15 and on October 15 through November 15. Burning permits are free and can be obtained by clicking here.

If you do obtain a permit, the following rules will apply:

• You may only burn on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays during the burning season.

• The burning of leaves and grass clippings is prohibited.

• You are only allowed to burn small twigs.

• ABSOLUTELY NO COMMERCIAL BURNING (Contractors, businesses, clearing land, etc.)

• Burning of garbage, rubbish, or any other solid waste is also prohibited.

• Open burning shall be supervised and kept under control by an adult who shall be present at the site of the fire at all times and until the fire is completely extinguished without smoldering.

• Fire extinguishing equipment must be readily available at the site of the fire. A supply of water must be available in the immediate vicinity of the fire.

• Open burning is not permitted within 50 feet of any building or overhead wires.

• Open burning is not permitted on any public street.

• Open burning is not permitted in ditches or drainage courses other than the burning of natural vegetation growing therein (with permission from the Fire Dept.)

• No burning in trash barrels or other containers.

• Burning is not allowed until sunrise and must be extinguished by sunset.

• Materials to be burned must be dry and readily combustible. The fire must be small and no black smoke is permitted.

• Burning is not allowed when the wind is over 20 mph.

• You must renew your burning permit annually.

Lastly, if the Fire Department is called to your address because of a complaint from smoke or odor from your fire, and if our responding fire officer determines that your burning is causing a health hazard or nuisance to your neighbors, you will be asked to extinguish your fire. 

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Police Department Updates

Drone Team

Walker Police Department continues to put the finishing touches on our Drone Team. Cpl. Wietfeldt will lead the team and Officers Bindus, Campbell, Stevens, Newberry, and McIntyre have also completed Drone Pilot training. As part of training later this month, the entirety of Walker PD will be trained as Drone Observers, which is important as each time we launch the drone we need both a pilot and an observer. If you were at Walker’s Pumpkin Bash, you may have seen our drone in use, grabbing some aerial shots of the festivities.

We also used the Drone Team recently to assist on a recent call for service. Officers responded to reports of an abandoned motorcycle on the north end of the City. The motorcycle was identified as being stolen, and the following investigation led officers to a trail in a nearby wooded area that led to a treasure trove of other stolen items. We launched the drone to assist in an area check of the wood line and surrounding areas, and the team was able to locate other dumped items that had been removed from stolen vehicles to change their appearance. In an expansive area, the drone was able to cover ground much faster than officers on foot and able to guide them to specific areas that needed a closer look.

Pumpkin Bash

Officers enjoyed their time at Walker’s annual Pumpkin Bash and look forward to participating in other Halloween events around the City this month. We’d also like to thank those who participated in the Trevor Slot Remembrance 5k or supported the TPS Foundation in any way. This year marks 11 years since Walker Officer Trevor Slot died in the line of duty.

For more safety tips, department news and upcoming community engagement, follow us on Facebook by clicking on this green button!

City of Walker Police Department - Michigan

Walker Ice and Fitness News

Winter Hours are Back

Monday - Friday: 5am - 9pm

Saturday and Sunday: 7am - 7pm

NEW Fall Fitness Class Schedule

8am – High Fitness With Marcie

9am - *NEW CLASS* Upbeat Barre with Marcie

10am - *NEW SECTION* Zumba (instructor rotation)

Click here for the new schedule.

Click here for a description of fitness classes.

Learn to Skate/Learn to Play Hockey

Session 2 begins Nov 5 at 10am and spots are still available! You can sign up through our online registration portal. Please email Gillian with any registration questions.

Learn to Skate: LTS provides a fun way for skaters of all ages to learn to fundamentals of ice skating. Skaters are divided among our instructors based on experience, so the program is great for beginners and more advanced skaters. Contact Coach Brooke with any questions.

Learn to Play Hockey: LTP is a great way for boys and girls to start and develop their hockey playing skills. It's important for Learn to Play Hockey that participants have basic skating skills. Full equipment is required. Contact Coach Mike with any questions.

Snowplow: Snowplow is for boys and girls 5 years and younger who've never skated before. It teaches kids the basics of skating in a fun and safe environment. Helmets are required for Snowplow. Contact Coach Brooke with any questions.

Learn to Skate, Snowplow, and Learn to Play Hockey: $85 - this cost includes 6 weeks of expert instruction and Learn to Skate USA registration.

Cross Ice Begins Oct 7

Our Cross Ice program is perfect for kids aged 4-14 who want to develop their hockey skills. No previous hockey experience needed. Kids just need to have basic skating ability and we will take it from there! Friday night skill-based practices start at 5pm and the Sunday noon sessions have skill skates and game day. The season begins on October 7 and runs through March 12.

Late signing up? That’s no problem – kids are always welcome, and we can pro-rate for the remaining sessions! Contact Mike Fountain with any questions at (616) 735-6286. 

Click here to register. If you have questions about registering for our Ice Programs, please contact Gillian.

Live Barn

Don't forget, you can now watch hockey games live and on-demand through LiveBarn

Whether you are at home, on the beach, at your neighbors, or on vacation, LiveBarn ensures that you never miss a moment of the game!

Soccer Photo Contest

Between September 24 and October 4, upload your pictures to the Rec Soccer Facebook page or by email. Multiple entries accepted!

(Submit photos from Fall 2022 season only)

Prize - FREE SOCCER REGISTRATION for Spring 2023! By entering the contest, entrants agree that photos submitted can be used by Walker Recreation for advertising purposes. The prize must be collected by the winner & is non-transferable. Winner will be announced and contacted the week of October 4.

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KDL Walker Branch News

Calling All Writers!

Kent District Library, Schuler Books, and two other libraries from across Michigan announce the 11th annual Write Michigan Short Story Contest.

Michigan writers of all ages are invited to enter, with separate categories for youth, teens, and adults. Writers can enter in either English or Spanish. Winning entries will be published and receive cash prizes. Stories can be submitted at writemichigan.org through Wednesday, November 30. Details include a 3,000-word maximum length; $10 entry fee for ages 18 and above, free for 17 and under; current Michigan residents only; all entries must be submitted online.

Those who enjoy reading stories are encouraged to sign up to be a volunteer story reviewer at writemichigan.org/volunteer.

New this year, join a community of writers online through Facebook and Instagram (@write.michigan). Get encouragement, writing tips, challenges, and more while you plot out your award-winning short story.

Kent District Library is offering a programming series geared towards writers and aspiring writers, covering topics like getting published, the art of description, and developing strong characters.

New artists and albums have been added to our KDL Vibes collection!

We have partnered with Library Speakers Consortium to present Author Talks, which allow you to enjoy engaging online conversations with award-winning, best-selling authors

Fun Fall Programs

Our fall programs are gearing up! Visit our Events page for more information. A selection of programs is highlighted below:

Mama Bear & Baby Cubs Support Group

Thursdays, October 6 & 20 and November 3 & 17 | 6:00 p.m.

Super Cool Spy School

Monday, October 10 | 1:00 p.m.

Like Kent District Library - Walker Branch on Facebook 

Friends of Walker Trails News

Are you following the Friends of Walker Trails on Facebook? Follow along for updates and news on our lengthy network of trails right here in Walker!