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Monthly e-Newsletter | April 2019 Edition
Hello from Mayor Gary Carey
While the late start to the Winter was enjoyed by many, the blast of winter weather we saw the last couple of months had everyone wondering when it would end. Fortunately, it is over, and I want to recognize all our City staff and departments who tirelessly went above and beyond to ensure our services were uninterrupted. This is a reputation of Walker that we can all beam with pride from. As we move into the Spring months, a different kind of severe weather enters our view. For those that don’t know, our City has a dubious distinction of being in the path of some significant springtime weather. Most notably in 1956, 1966, and 1998. As a result of our history as well as the recent Ice Storm, the City leaders and staff have spent a great deal of time discussing how we can get ahead of the next weather impact to Walker – regardless of season. You will be pleased to know there are very strong plans in place that address just about every contingency one can think of. They will continue to review these plans on a regular basis to ensure we are prepared the best we can be.

Since the January newsletter, we welcomed another new Commissioner to our City. Carol Glanville was unanimously appointed by the Commission to backfill for the open 2 nd Ward spot when I became Mayor. Carol has lived in the 2 nd Ward for nearly 10 years and has been very active with her volunteer time in the area, specifically the Fred Meijer Standale Trail group. In addition to Commissioner Glanville’s appointment, the City Commission appointed Commissioner Steven Gilbert as Mayor Pro-Tem. The role of Mayor Pro-Tem is an important one in our form of government. That person, by City Charter, can perform the duties of Mayor leading City Commission meetings and other related duties in the Mayor’s absence. Commissioner Gilbert is a life long resident of Walker, and has been on our City Commission since 2017, and the Planning Commission since January of 2015. The strong planning backgrounds of both Commissioners Gilbert and Glanville will serve our City well with all the growth and development we have going on.

In early March, the City Commission and Department Leaders came together for our annual Strategic Planning Session. The first part of that process is to measure our actions to the objectives we set the last two years. We look at this as a type of roadmap to make sure we are on track and making the needed progress. The second part of our annual retreat is what we call our Capital Improvement Plans (CIP). The CIP is a five-year plan that we ask each major department in the City to identify and prioritize upcoming large “capital” expenditures. A critical part of each CIP is identifying the funding source for each of those expenses. We also start to discuss what we call “set asides” for items such as vehicles, upcoming projects, and our legacy costs such as pensions. In summary, we have a very strong grasp of where our major expenses are going to come from the next five years so that we can appropriately budget for them.

In addition, we look at the revenues that come in and what the trends look like. Currently, we enjoy the lowest property tax millage rate for all cities in Kent County at 1.336 mills. This can maintain its very low rate due to our City Income Tax. While not always a popular topic, the Income Tax rate typically funds around 68% of our revenue. With a strong economy, this obviously puts Walker in a position of strength. Yet, we always must be aware that we are susceptible to economic downturns and we do plan accordingly. The last set of numbers show that within that Income Tax, around 64% of workers in Walker live outside the city limits but work here. Approximately, 32% live in Walker, but work outside the city limits. Lastly, about 4% of our Income Tax payers live in and work here in Walker. There are a lot of numbers here, so I can summarize it for us: Jobs are critically important to the financial health of Walker! On that topic, there are several proposed developments like the Northridge extension out to Fruitridge that we are undertaking to ensure we are a ‘business friendly’ city. That would also apply to the upcoming Dual Left Turn Lane project at Three Mile Road and Walker Avenue. These are just two examples where we are planning for the business needs, both current and future, in our City. You are always welcome to reach out to myself or any of the City Commissioners to discuss any of these projects.

Whether a resident or business, thank you for making the choice to call Walker home.

Gary Carey, Jr.
City of Walker
Upcoming Events:
April 13: Easter Egg Hunt @ 11:00 am sharp, Walker Ice & Fitness Center
April 15: Beginning of Open Burn Season (with permit), see details below
May 2-4: Walker Clean-up Days, see details below
May 27: Walker Memorial Day Parade @ 12:00 pm, Lake MI Drive in Standale
Save the Date: Walker Memorial Day Parade
The Memorial Day Parade has been a Walker tradition for many, many years. Please join us in honoring those veterans that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. All Veterans, bands, floats, scout troops, businesses and organizations are invited to participate in this year’s parade. 

The Memorial Day parade is on Monday, May 27 at 12:00 noon. 

Entry deadline is Monday, May 6. Entry forms are available via our website:  www.walkericeandfitness.com  
Walker Clean-Up Days

Behind City Hall, 4243 Remembrance Rd NW

May 2, 3 and 4, 2019

$5.00 (per visit) - single car or minivan
$5.00 - per tire
$10.00 per tire with rim
$10.00 (per visit) - single car with trailer
$10.00 (per visit) - single pickup truck
$20.00 (per visit) - single pickup truck with trailer

- Appliances (refrigerators coolant to be removed with certificate)
- Wood, brush, leaves and grass clippings
- Metal

- TV's
- Computer Monitors
- Hazardous waste (contact Kent County Recycling program at (616) 632-7920 or visit www.RecycleKent.org)

Walker Fire Department: Outdoor Warning Sirens
The City of Walker has eight outdoor warning sirens located throughout the City. The sirens are tested on the first Friday of each month from April through October. The sirens sound off and rotate for three minutes during the test. During the spring and summer months these sirens are used to alert the residents in Walker that may be outdoors of the potential for severe weather (tornadoes, high winds) that may be eminent within Kent County and the City of Walker. 

Currently, the Kent County Sheriff's Department Dispatch sets off the sirens when they receive information from the National Weather Service. If the possibility of a High Wind Warning (Over 70 MPH), or a Tornado Warning is issued, the sirens will be activated. The sirens, once activated, will sound for three minutes and be followed every 10 to 15 minutes until the warnings are canceled. If you are outside during this activation, please go inside and turn on your radio, television, computer or smart phone for more weather information.
Rules for Open Burning with Permit
In accordance with the Code of Ordinances for the City of Walker, Chapter 34 (Environment), Section 34-55
(Open Burning), listed below are the rules and regulations for the City’s Open Burning Policy:

Residential burning is allowed twice a year. The burning season begins on April 15th through May 15th and October 15th through November 15th. Burning permits are free and can be obtained at the main reception area at Walker City Hall or on line at www.walker.city . You will be required to show your valid Michigan driver’s license when applying for your burning permit. 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 in 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 every spring.

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.  
Walker Police Department: Department News
Walker Police Department held our first community event last month at Alpine Avenue Biggby. To all those who came out to speak with Chief Long, thank you! Follow “City of Walker Police Department” on Facebook for more information on upcoming community events! Next up for Walker Police Department will be the Annual Easter Egg Hunt on 4/13/19, hope to see you there!

Walker Police Department will be assisting Helen Devos Children’s Hospital with car seat safety checks at Fire Station #2 on 4/11/19. The checks are done by appointment only, so contact a Child Safety Specialist at Helen Devos (616-391-7233) for more info.   

Walker Police Department took part in two separate active threat trainings last month. The first was held at Zinser Elementary. This training featured simulated gunfire and utilized role players to give the school staff a better understanding of how chaotic an active threat can be. The staff was challenged in many ways, and all performed very well. Discussions were had after the training, with the goal of providing staff with the know how about how to keep students, and themselves, safe during an active threat.
The second training was on a larger scale. We closed City Central Park and trained with transportation staff from Kenowa Hills Public Schools. Bus drivers took part in scenario trainings regarding issues that could unfold at a bus stop, or while in transit. Later in the day, Walker Police Department’s Special Response Team joined the training to practice difference responses to an active threat on a school bus. As you can imagine, a school bus provides various challenges to a traditional SRT response, so the team valued the opportunity to discuss different response options and train with specialty vehicles and equipment. A big thank you goes to the staff from KHPS Transportation Department for being role players during the training!

Spring Break week is the kick off to vacation season. Remember, when your home is left empty, it can become a target for thieves. Be cautious what you post on social media. Never make it obvious that no one is home! Consider using timers to have various lights, TVs, etc. come on at different times. This gives the illusion someone is still home. Have your mail stopped, or have a family member, friend, or neighbor pick it up. When mail begins to pile up, it is a clue to thieves that no one is home. And finally, if you are gone for an extended period of time, call our Records & Info Department (616-791-6812) to add your address to our “Property Check” list. Property checks are conducted almost daily during the work week by our Volunteer Patrol.

Finally, our newest Road Patrol Officer, Nicole Kremers, and newest Volunteer, Matthew Meyers, will be sworn in before the City Commission on the evening of 4/22/19, at the Commission Meeting. 

As always, we appreciate the overwhelming community support for our officers, and look forward to serving you in 2019! 
From the Income Tax Department:
Do you need help?
W alker Income Tax returns for calendar year 2018 and first quarter estimated payments for 2019
are due April 30, 2019. Forms are available on our website at: http://www.walker.city/income_tax_forms.php#
The most common questions are answered on our website at:
We will be happy to prepare your Walker return at the counter free of charge. Call 616-791-6880 for an appointment. Appointments are available from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Fridays. We are unable to schedule appointments on the due date of the return which is April 30, 2019.
E-Filed Returns
Did you e-file your 2018 return and it showed that you had a balance due? You may have received an assessment from the Income Tax Department or have a voucher from your tax preparer that shows the amount you owe. All tax due must be postmarked or paid online by April 30, 2019 in order to avoid penalty and interest. Call us at 616-791-6866 if you have any questions.
Please make sure that your W-2 forms showing Walker withholding are attached to your returns. Many returns are missing the W-2 forms this year. Missing W-2 forms will delay the processing of your refund.
Kent District Library: Walker Branch
The KDL Seed Library is available at all branch locations, and is not limited to KDL cardholders. Participants may choose from a variety of types categorized by how difficult it is to save the seeds (easy, medium or advanced), not by how to grow them.

Grow Your Mind - Grow Your Garden at the Walker Branch
During the month of April pick up a Grow Your Mind, Grow Your Garden entry form to read and track two books. Return the form to the library to receive a voucher for a packet of seeds from our sponsor located across the street. You'll also be entered in a drawing for one of two grand prizes; a hanging flower basket or potted flowers! Entry form due no later than Tuesday, April 30, 8:00 p.m. One entry per person must be age 18 or older. Sponsored by Rylee's ACE Hardware, 4300 Remembrance Road.

Summer Reading
The Summer Reading Kick off Carnival will be on Monday, June 10 this year and we will have some really fun programs this summer.   
Upcoming Special Events at the Walker Branch

Toddler Time
Nurture your toddler's love of books through music, movement and stories while helping to develop their language, motor and social skills. For children ages 3 and younger with an adult.
Mondays - 9:45 a.m. & 10:45 a.m.

Family Storytime
Read and sing together as a family. Enjoy stories, music, movement and rhymes that develop early literacy skills.
Mondays– 6:30 p.m.
Thursdays– 10:30 a.m.

Rhyme Time Music and Movement
Move and groove together with action rhymes, songs, games and hands-on musical activities that will help children develop motor, listening and literacy skills.
Fridays - 10:30 am

Baby Playgroup
Get to know other families and help your baby develop listening and language skills while you gather and play. We provide the space and a variety of sensory and play activities. Each playgroup also includes 15 minutes of stories, rhymes and songs. For babies from birth to 18 months with a caregiver. Older siblings welcome!
Thursdays– 9:30 a.m.

Special Programs
Adult Book Discussion: Future Home of the Living God
Tuesday, April 9, 2019 10:00 a.m – 11:00 a.m
Join us for a fun, informal book discussion. This month's selection is Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich.

Travel Tales: Hawaii
Wednesday, April 17, 6:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m.
Listen to fellow “travel bugs” each month as someone will share a story of a memorable travel trip and why it was special. Speakers will share pictures and mementos from their trips with a chance for Q&A. Light refreshments will be provided thanks to Wonderland Family Vacations, who will also have a travel agent in attendance to help answer any travel related questions.
Did you have an awesome travel experience you would like to share? Are you willing to talk to a group of people about this experience and share some pictures? If so consider signing up for one of our future travel tales by contacting Walker Branch staff.

KDaLe Book Club: Osgood Brewing
Thursday, April 18, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Combine your love of books and brews at the KDaLe Book Club. Enjoy a drink from Osgood Brewing while we talk about what we've been reading. Expert book recommendations from KDL librarians included.
The book club will be held at Osgood Brewing, 4051 Chicago Dr. SW in Grandville. For adults 21 and older.

KDL Lab Experience: Cardboard Creations
Saturday, April 27, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Our Makedo construction toolkit will help you create, experiment and learn as you build yourvery own cardboard masterpieces -- the possibilities are endless!

Family Building Bricks Party
Saturday, May 11, 10:00 a.m – 12:00 p.m.
Design, build and construct. Bring the whole family together and create a towering structure using the library's building bricks. The best part? No big mess at home to clean up!

Sensory Playtime
Monday, May 13 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Drop in and explore a variety of sensory activities that will stimulate your child’s mind. Sensory play, art experiences and gross motor activities will be provided.

Visit KDL.org Events for a current schedule of programs at the branch
Gifts for Grads...Moms and Dads too!
Need a great gift for that special college graduate? Student Summer Special - $79 for a 3-month gym membership!! What a fun gift to stay healthy all summer long!! Stop in today!
Mother’s Day is fast approaching…..We have some great gift ideas! Stop in or call today for more information (616) 735-6286!   
Book a Room with Us!
Looking to host a graduation party? Bridal Shower? Family reunion? We have rooms to rent that can hold up to 120 people! Call today for availability and more details! (616) 735-6286.
Groupon starts April 1!

Purchase your fitness class punch cards soon! Offer starts April 1. Stock up today by visiting www.groupon.com/  
News and Events
Drop in 3 on 3 Basketball
“Court is in Session”
Starting April 29, 2019 every Monday 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. our two basketball courts behind Walker Ice & Fitness Center will be reserved for FREE drop in 3 on 3 Basketball. Ball not provided.
Drop in Inline Roller Hockey
“Don’t go through life without GOALS”
Starting May 1, 2019, we will have our outdoor inline rink reserved for FREE drop in every Wednesday from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. We do have limited youth goalie equipment for rent at the front desk at Walker Ice & Fitness for a $10.00 fee. No other equipment provided.

“Let’s keep it rolling and have a good time”
Drop in Volleyball
“Bump, set, spike it……that’s the way we like it”
Starting April 30, 2019 every Tuesday, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., our 2 sandy Volleyball courts will be reserved for FREE drop in beach Volleyball! Ball not provided.
Meet some new friends while you experience the outdoors, exercise and have fun!
Rent a Park Pavilion for your next Gathering!
The Walker Parks & Recreation Department would be happy to help reserve a pavilion for you! We have several available:
Alpine Estates
Bathroom Facility
Basketball Court
Ball Field
Walking Trails

Community Park  
Bathroom Facility
Pickleball Court
Tennis Courts
Basketball Court
Ball Field
Soccer Field
Playground (newly updated)

City Central Park
Bathroom Facility
Volleyball Courts
Pickleball Court
Tennis Court
Fishing Pond
Basketball Courts
Inline Skating Rink
Walking Trails
Ball Fields
Soccer Fields
Reserve any of our park facilities  ONLINE  !!!

Contact Walker Parks & Rec for more information and pricing at 616-735-6286 or email  sjohnson@walkericeandfitness.com  or  mmay@walkericeandfitness.com  .  
Walker Trails News
Fun Fact:  The City of Walker boasts over 30 miles of multi-use trails! Surprised? Our vast network of trails includes the Kent Trails in Millennium and Johnson Parks, the Fred Meijer Standale Trail that runs north/south through the city connecting Millennium Park to the Walker Ice and Fitness Center, and the Pioneer Trail which acts as an east/west connector joining the Musketawa Trail and the White Pine Trail on the northeast side of the city.

Not only do the trails provide a safe, convenient place to walk the dog, get in a quick run, and relax outside the rush of downtown, they also bring economic benefits. At the top of the list, is the effect on home values. Trails and greenways contribute to that as they consistently rank among the top 5 preferred amenities for new home buyers.

Of course, you may end up spending a little cash at the neighborhood ice cream shops near our trail (Hello Double Dip Depot and Ice Cream Garage!) but that’s just another example of the positive economic impact of the trails on our local economy.

So ditch the treadmill, get outside, and take advantage of this fantastic community resource! Want to get involved maintaining and growing our trails? Join the Friends of the Walker Trails for our next meeting 6:30 pm Monday, May 6 at the Walker Ice & Fitness Center.
Walker Chamber of Commerce Upcoming Events
Quarterly Meetings are held at:
Walker City Hall
4243 Remembrance Rd.
Walker, MI 49534
Held quarterly the second Tuesday of the month

Next Meeting: May 14 - Walker Police Dept. Presentation
Business Security, Mental Health, and Conflict Resolution

If your business would like to host an Walker After Work Event, please let us know!
Created by the Walker Youth Commission and adopted by the City Commissioners, this exciting video highlights the main attractions of the City of Walker, from Millennium Park to beautiful neighborhoods. This video was presented to the Walker community and soon-to-be citizens on how Walker is such a great place to live, work, and grow.