September 2022 Edition

Greetings from the Mayor's Office

I want to welcome our teachers and students back to our area schools. There are not many better sounds and/or visuals than our kids back in the school buildings, especially post-pandemic. Seeing and hearing the classrooms and playgrounds full of energy is a sign that fall is soon to be upon us. I also believe a special thank you is appropriate to our teachers and school staffs. They have been put through a lot the last couple of years and my hope is that they can have a ‘normal’ school year engaged with our kids.

Traveling in and out of our City the past few weeks you may have noticed new “Welcome to Walker” signs. These new signs replace the nearly 30-year-old wood signs that had an outdated logo and City motto on them. These had obviously run their course and had been on our radar to replace. I want to thank our City staff for bringing that new logo and motto to life in what is a true reflection of Walker today.

As our City continues to show progress in several ways, there is always that counter effect of new or increased needs because of the change. One of those areas we knew would need to be addressed was the need for transportation options for businesses and their employees in the Northridge and Walkerview industrial corridor. At the time, there was no service to that high growth part of our City. We also knew given the complexities of different business hours and shift times that increasing standard fixed routes like we see elsewhere in Walker would not be the best solution. Instead, we began to think of a transit on demand model that would answer as many needs as possible. The solution that The Rapid came back with was Rapid Connect. This new service has shown steadily progressive ridership levels over the spring and summer. We continue to share information about this new service and look for it to continue to grow.

As always, thank you to each of you for making the choice 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

Thom Burke

First Ward Commissioner

**(619) 379-6036

Roxanne Deschaine

Second Ward Commissioner

(616) 885-4191

Jessica Babcock

Second Ward Commissioner

(616) 634-6015

Elaina Huizenga-Chase

Third Ward Commissioner

(616) 334-1900

Melanie Grooters

Third Ward Commissioner

(616) 690-1719

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Clerk's Department Updates

November 8 General Election

The Clerk’s office is currently preparing for the upcoming election. Dual applications were sent out to voters on the permanent absentee voter list prior to the August election. Dual applications gave the voter the option to request a ballot for both the August and November elections if they chose. Those voters who selected the November election will have their ballot mailed to them. Ballots are anticipated to be mailed out by September 29th. If the voter does not receive a ballot by October 13, that voter needs to call the Clerk’s office at (616) 791-6865.

Voters on the permanent absent voter list who have not returned their dual application from August or did not indicate that they wanted to also receive the November ballot will be mailed a November 8, 2022 Absent Voter Ballot application.

Please note that a ballot cannot be mailed to any voter without a signed absent voter application

Passports by Appointment-Only

Applications must be fully completed prior to your appointment. Applications can be found at or picked up prior to your appointment at the Clerk’s Office.

Please contact the Clerk's Office at (616) 791-6865 to set up an appointment.

Appointments are available Monday - Thursday from 7:30 am - 3:30 pm, and Friday from 7:30 am - 10:30 am.

Renewals, form DS-82, must be mailed to the passport agency directly from the applicant. Per the US Department of State, acceptance agencies are not to process renewal applications.

Pictures can still be taken at the City of Walker Clerk’s office for applicants to send with their applications. The cost is $10 per picture; please call ahead to verify an agent is available.

Income Tax Department Updates


Due Dates

Third quarter estimated payments for calendar year 2022 are due September 30. Forms are available on our website.

Missing Information

Did you receive a request for information related to your 2021 Walker income tax return? If we did not receive the information upon request from the taxpayer, deductions and credits will be disallowed resulting in a lower refund or assessment. If you were expecting a refund, but have received a proposed assessment or reduced refund, there is still time to provide the required information. You must send us proof of the credit/deduction within 30 days of the date you received the notice that we adjusted your return. If you’re not sure what we need, please email us at or call (616) 791-6880.

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


Back to School Safety

The National Safety Council (NSC) provides the following tips for students and parents to safely get to school:

Walking to school

Walk on the sidewalk, if one is available; when on a street with no sidewalk, walk facing the traffic

Before you cross the street, stop and look left, right, and left again to see if cars are coming

Never walk while texting. If you need to respond to a text, move out of the way of others and stop on the sidewalk. Do not wear earbuds while walking across the street.

Riding a bicycle to school

Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, and in single file

Stay alert and avoid distracted riding

Make sure your child always wears a properly fitted helmet and bright clothing

Riding the bus to school

Go to the bus stop with your child to teach them the proper way to get on and off the bus

Teach your children to stand six feet (or 3 giant steps) away from the curb

If your child must cross the street in front of the bus, teach him or her to walk on the side of the road until they are 10 feet ahead of the bus; your child and the bus driver should always be able to see each other

Driving your child to school

Stay alert and avoid distracted driving

Obey school zone speed limits and follow your school’s drop-off procedure

Make eye contact with children who are crossing the street

Firework Courtesy and Safety

The City of Walker Fire Department wants you to enjoy the long Labor Day holiday weekend safely, especially if you're using fireworks.

Public Act 256 of the State of Michigan allows for the use of consumer fireworks. Use of fireworks in Walker is regulated by Section 38-16 of the City Ordinance. Some of the highlights of the State law and City ordinance are as follows:

  • The use of fireworks for the Labor Day holiday is allowed on Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day after 11:00 am until 11:45 pm.

  • Fireworks cannot be set off after Labor Day (September 5).

  • You must be 18 years or older to buy consumer fireworks.

  • Use of consumer fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances is illegal.

  • Setting off fireworks on public property, in the street, school property, church property, or any other person’s property without permission is prohibited.

Please be aware of your neighbors, and the effect fireworks may have on them.

The Walker Fire Department would prefer that you leave fireworks displays to the professionals and simply enjoy from a distance. But if you choose to set off fireworks as part of your celebration, please use extreme caution.

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Police Department Updates

National Night Out 2022

The Walker Police Department had a great time engaging with the community at National Night Out events within the City. Feyen Zylstra hosted an event in the north service area and there was a large neighborhood event in the south service area. Our officers always enjoy being out in the community educating and giving away goodies. Thank you to all of the organizers and sponsors who made these events possible.

Cops Fore Kids

Captain Heugel and Captain Veen participated in the 25th annual Cops Fore Kids Golf Scramble at Gracewil Country Club. The event brings officers and kids from area programs, such as The Boys and Girls Club, together for a day of golf and fun. This young man had never stepped foot on a golf course and took the brief tips seriously. He made good contact with the ball at each attempt. On hole 8 he had a very impressive chip shot that allowed the officers to sit back and watch him finish the hole. Well done, Kaliq! This event is always looking for officers, kids who want to golf, and sponsors. If you are interested in seeing how you can participate or sponsor, check out their Facebook page.

City of Walker Police Department - Michigan

Walker Ice and Fitness News


Labor Day Weekend Hours

Friday, September 2: 5am - 9pm

Saturday and Sunday: 7am - 5pm

Labor Day, September 5: Closed

New Equipment is Here!

Introducing our Freemotion Pec Fly/Rear Delt, Abdominal Crunch, Torso Rotation, and Back Extension machines. We've also switched to new Pro Style Rubber Dumbbells ranging from 10 lbs. to 40 lbs.

If you're not sure how to use one of these new machines, grab one of our personal trainers or fitness staff to give you a demo!

Skating and Hockey Lessons at the WIFC

Our new season of Learn to Skate, Learn to Play Hockey, and Snow Plow begins on September17. Registration is now available. This six-week session runs through October 22 and costs $85.

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. Masks are required for Learn to Skate. Contact Coach Brooke with any questions. Learn to Skate also offers Adult classes – remember, it’s never too late to learn to skate!

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. Players are not required to have masks on the ice. Full equipment is required. Contact Coach Mike with any questions.

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

Registration Now Open

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! At WIFC, players get to progress at their own pace and the emphasis of Cross Ice is on making hockey fun! Friday night skill-based practices start at 5pm and the Saturday 11am sessions have skill skates and game day. The season begins on October 8 and runs through March 11, 2023.

If you have questions about Cross Ice, please contact our Hockey Director, Mike Fountain.

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!

Like Walker Ice & Fitness Center on Facebook

KDL Walker Branch News

Career Online High School

Earn your high school diploma from your local KDL branch. KDL has partnered with Smart Horizons Career Online High School to offer Kent County residents 19 years or older a certified high school diploma. The program is entirely online with 24/7 access, along with your own career coach. Each high school diploma comes with a career certificate in a desired career field. No one is too old to learn... if you’re curious, then you’ll be a lifelong learner. If interested, please ask your friendly neighborhood librarian and fill out the survey.

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, September 22, October 6 & 20 and November 3 & 17 | 6:00 p.m.

Gardening Basics: Putting Your Garden to Bed for Winter

Wednesday, September 14 | 6:00 p.m.

Like Kent District Library - Walker Branch on Facebook 

Little Book Explorers

Fridays, September 16, October 14 and November 4 | 10:00 a.m.

Fall Fest

Friday, September 23 | 1 p.m.

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!