September 2021 Edition
Greetings from the Mayor's Office
It is hard to believe summer is coming to an end! Looking back, we can be thankful for the much-needed sense of normalcy. Our summer concert series enjoyed what we believe to be our highest numbers as far as total turnout, and we are excited to have our Pumpkin Bash return in early October as our next big community event. It is hard for us to keep track of the countless conversations, emails, and phone calls of residents telling us what a great community Walker is for family-friendly events. I believe recognition must be given to our sponsors for their generous support, as well as our City staff and other volunteers who make it all come together.

Since our last newsletter, we have seen the final changes go into effect within our Police Department. We have had numerous promotions at nearly every level as part of our deliberate succession planning. I continue to thank our department leaders and City managers for ensuring our plans for leadership continuity are in place and ready to go throughout our City staff. I wish all of you could see what I am privileged to see everyday, behind-the-scenes, when it comes to our long-term organizational health. I continue to be reminded of how well our City runs from top to bottom, thanks to our staff.

It seems like every month there is some exciting growth and development news to share. August and September are turning out to be no different. One of the facilities that we were excited to see open its doors was the new DTE Energy complex on Three Mile, just east of Wilson Avenue. That new facility repurposes some older and unused buildings, along with bringing more than 50 full-time jobs into our City. Just as important is that we have one of our major utility partners expanding and locating its new facility in Walker. With so many great choices in the area, we are proud of the fact DTE chose our community to plant new roots.

As we are all painfully aware, one of the pressures we face as a city is the need for more housing – both single family and multi-family. When that new residential construction starts to take place in previously undeveloped areas, it can understandably cause concern. Yet, the demand for housing is a problem that is critical in nature. So, as a city, we continually reference Walker's Master Plan to consider solutions to solve that problem.

The rezoning of the former Lincoln Golf Course and Bowling Center, as well as the development of the old English Hills Golf Course were conceptual plans that began years ago. The housing demand and limited supply has put a spotlight on that urgent need. We believe by directly aligning with our recently approved Master Plan we are solving those problems and addressing those needs. The community feedback and dialogue has been appreciated and I believe we continue to demonstrate that we are listening, and we hear you.

Finally, with the ongoing challenges we face with the evolving pandemic that never seems to want to end, I would ask that we all reinforce the need for civility that our community is known for. Whether someone has a mask on or not, whether someone has elected to vaccinate or not, everyone has their reasons. We are a desirable community because of the respect and understanding we show each other, and it continues to reinforce why we are a great city to live, work, and grow.

As always, thank 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 [email protected]

Thom Burke
First Ward Commissioner
(619) 379-6036 [email protected]

Roxanne Deschaine
Second Ward Commissioner
(616) 885-4191 [email protected]
Carol Glanville
Second Ward Commissioner
(616) 443-9313 [email protected]

Elaina Huizenga-Chase
Third Ward Commissioner
(616) 334-1900 [email protected]

Melaine Grooters
Third Ward Commissioner
(616) 690-1719 [email protected]
Clerk's Department Updates

Election News
November 2, 2021 is the special General Election to fill the vacant seat for the 28th District Senate. Before we know it, we will be rolling into the 2022 Elections, which will include the Michigan House, Senate, all Congressional seats, Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and Walker City Elections of Mayor and a Commissioner from each Ward.

Make a difference in your community and apply to be an Election Inspector! The City Clerk’s Office is looking for outgoing, friendly individuals to work at precincts on election days.
If you have Microsoft Windows knowledge and can commit to working each election day from 6:30 am – 9:00 pm, we need you! Join your family, friends, and neighbors on the front lines of democracy and exercise your civic duty by applying to be an Election Inspector today!

Please email Sarah Bydalek, Walker City Clerk at [email protected]
The Walker City Clerk's Office is an official passport acceptance agency. You can have your passport photo taken here and apply for your passport! No appointment is necessary during the following passport hours:

Mondays – Thursdays: 7:30 am – 4:00 pm
Fridays: 7:30 am – 11:00 am.

Please call (616) 791-6865 prior to coming to confirm a processing agent is available and that you have all the proper paperwork with you, including checks for payment.
Please note: Passports are currently taking longer than usual to process. Please allow at least 16 weeks for your passport to be processed and mailed to you. If you need your passport expedited, processing time is 8-12 weeks.
Income Tax Department Updates

Due Dates
Third quarter estimated payments for calendar year 2021 are due September 30, 2021. Forms are available on our website.

Missing Information
Did you receive a request for information related to your 2020 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 [email protected] 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.
Police Department Updates
Let the Parade of Athletes Begin!
The Walker Police Department will be participating in the 2021 Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Michigan Special Olympics. This event will be held on September 15, 2021 at the Special Olympics Michigan Grand Rapids Complex/Unified Sports and Inclusion Center, located at 160 68th St. SW. Local law enforcement officers will join the athletes as they walk/run the track during this event. Registration for the event begins at 4:30pm and the start time is 5:30 pm. This new complex is the largest Special Olympics training facility in the world! Join us in supporting these amazing athletes and their training facility.
The Pieces are Coming Together!
The department experienced several changes over the past two months with the retirement of Deputy Chief Jason Howe and Chief Greg Long. The new leader of the Walker Police Department, Chief Keith Mankel, had several promotions to oversee, as well as positions to fill.
Two Sergeants were promoted to round out Chief Mankel’s administration team. Captain Brandyn Heugel and Captain Andy Veen together will oversee the day-to-day operations of the department. Sergeant Sam Powell was promoted from the rank of Corporal to fill an open position on Road Patrol.
Starting in October the following promotions and appointments will round out the new structure. Sergeant Robin Maley will be promoted from the rank of Corporal to lead a night shift. Officer Andrew Ringling and Detective Jon Kooistra will begin their new assignments as Corporals on night shift road patrol. Sergeant Tom Raisanen is taking over the Administrative Sergeant position, and Officer Luke Biel will be joining the Detective Bureau.
Finally, Officer Mitch Harkema will hit the ground running reprising his role as the Community Resource Officer. Congratulations to everyone and keep up the GREAT work serving the residents of the City of Walker.
Fire Department Updates

Clothes Dryer Safety
Doing laundry is most likely part of your everyday routine. But did you know how important taking care of your clothes dryer is to the safety of your home? With a few simple safety tips you can help prevent a clothes dryer fire.
  • Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
  • Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
  • Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.
  • Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
  • Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating. Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.
  • Keep dryers is good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
  • Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and don’t overload your dryer.
  • Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.
  • Dryers should be property grounded.
  • Check the outdoor vent flap to make sure it is not covered by snow.
  • Keep the area around your dryer clear of things that can burn, like boxes, cleaning supplies, and clothing, etc.
  • Clothes that have come in contact with flammable substances, like gasoline, paint thinner, or similar solvents should be laid outside to dry, then can be washed and dried as usual.

Learn more safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association.
Learn the Sounds of FIre Safety
Is there a beep or a chirp coming out of your smoke or carbon monoxide alarm? What does it all mean? Knowing the difference can save you, your home, and your family! Make sure everyone in the home understands the sounds of the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and knows how to respond. Learn the sounds of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms by checking the user guide or search the brand and model online.

What is your Alarm Telling You?
  • A continued set of three loud beeps – beep, beep, beep – means smoke or fire. Get out, call 9-1-1, and stay out.
  • A single “chirp” every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be changed.
  • All smoke alarms must be replaced after 10 years.
  • Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced.

  • A continuous set of four loud beeps – beep, beep, beep, beep – means carbon monoxide is present in your home. Go outside, call 9-1-1 and stay out.
  • A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds mean the battery is low and must be replaced.
  • CO alarms also have “end of life” sounds that vary by manufacturer. This means it’s time to get a new CO alarm.
  • Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced.

Make sure your smoke and CO alarms meet the needs of everyone in your home, including those with sensory or physical disabilities.
  • Install a bedside alert device that responds to the sound of the smoke and CO alarms. Use of a low frequency alarm can also wake a sleeping person with mild to severe hearing loss.
  • Sleep with your mobility device, glasses, and phone close to your bed.
  • Keep pathways like hallways lit with night lights and free from clutter to make sure everyone can get out safety.
Engineering Department Updates

Curious about the construction projects near your home or on your daily commute in Walker?

The Construction Map on the City's website now shows private development throughout the City.

You may also find updated information on the Kinney Avenue Reconstruction Project through Prein & Newhof.

Walker Ice and Fitness News
We're excited to bring back our Walker Pump & Run! This year's Lifting and Running Competition will take place Saturday, October 9, 2021 at 8 a.m.

Need help getting started? See the bulletin board in the gym for tips on how to train for this event. You can also consider working with one of our Certified Personal Trainers. Take advantage of our Pump & Run Personal Training Special: Buy 6 sessions, get 1 session FREE!
New Soccer Fields!

Walker Recreation will be adding 2 unofficial soccer fields to accommodate the 4 year-old teams. These fields will only be used for games for the 4 year-old group. We have added these because we have so many teams registered in this season!

Learn more about our upcoming fall youth coed soccer program by liking our Walker Recreation Youth Soccer Facebook page!
Important Dates

August 31: Coaches must contact parents by this date.
Week of September 7: Practices Begin
September 18: Games Begin
October 16: Season Ends - weather permitting.

Questions? Call the Recreation Department at (616) 735-6286. We look forward to a great season!

The new season of Learn to Skate, Learn to Play Hockey and Snowplow starts September 18! Click the image above to register your child!
Registration for the 2021-22 season of Cross Ice is now available!

The 2021-22 season of Cross Ice runs from October 9, 2021 - March 5, 2022.
Kent District Library has partnered with area attractions to provide our patrons with access to complimentary guest passes to area museums, zoos and botanical gardens. More partnerships may be added over time.

KDL patrons ages 18 and above can use their library card to reserve free passes to attractions and experiences around the county. Cardholders can reserve passes online, print their passes and visit their attraction on the date they reserved.
Kent District Library Accepting Music Submissions from Local Talent
Calling all local musicians! Kent District Library is now accepting submissions to KDL Vibes, our upcoming streaming platform that features music from West Michigan musicians.

KDL Vibes streaming platform is set to launch to the public later this year for patrons to listen to music from their favorite West Michigan musicians. Musicians looking for more information or who have any questions can visit or email the team at [email protected].
Fall Events
KDL will be offering a combination of virtual and in-person fall programming! In-person programming will be outdoors while the weather is nice and will move indoors as it gets colder. Visit our Events page for more information.
Community Events
Walker Pumpkin Bash is back this year! Join us at Walker City Hall (4243 Remembrance Rd. NW) for FREE Fall Fun for the whole family *Saturday, October 2 from 1:30-3pm. The first 1,000 kids can pick out their own free mini pumpkin to decorate. There will also be face painting, air brush tattoos, a balloon artist, FREE family laser tag with BattleGR Mobile Tactical Games, live animals from the Critter Barn, trick or treating with local businesses, photos with a firetruck and police cruiser and cider and **donuts from Ludwicks Bakery!

*Pumpkin Bash will be held outdoors. Rain cancellations will be posted to our Facebook page and City website.

**Donuts are made in a facility that contains nuts.
Hello my fellow comrades and Walker community members! Commander Jena Wilmers here from American Legion Post 1111 located in Walker, MI. You may be wondering where we are located. We do not have a building at this time as we are just a year and a half old. Post 1111 was chartered on February 29th, 2020 and, since then, has set out to support the Walker community in a variety of ways. We are reaching out to ask for help with our Gift Bags for Troops project. We are sending 1,111 gift bags overseas to deployed troops for the holidays. Here's is how you can help! We are in need of donations! A list of items can be found on our website at:

We want to thank all of our community partners in this endeavor. Help us support our troops! 

Jena Wilmers
Commander, American Legion Post 1111
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!
Protect Our Watershed
Let's all remember to do our part and pick up after our furry friend! This ensures that their waste does not get washed into our storm drains. This will also keep E. coli and other pathogens out of our local waterways. You can find more useful ways to protect our watershed year-round by going to