March 2021 Edition
Greetings from the Mayor's Office
As I reflect to a year ago March, little did we realize the magnitude of how much our worlds would change over the next 12 months. So many memories and most of them not good. However, based on several recent developments I would like to take a strong leadership position in looking forward from here. We cannot change what is behind us, so we must have the confident optimism that we are in the last stages of the pandemic shutting down our world. If we take an evidence-based approach around the metrics that matter, along with the incredibly promising news with vaccine availabilities, there is no reason that we cannot all have the positive beliefs in which we need. Not to mention the spring-like weather in which we've recently been blessed.

At the start of March, my annual State of the City was released virtually through social media and the city website. You can view that video on the City's YouTube page by clicking here. As we did with last year's State of the City, we chose a location that is symbolic of the theme for our State of the City. Our theme this year is one of Community - Priorities - Confidence. When you think of the three trees in our city logo, I would ask you to imagine this year that they symbolize Community – Priorities - Confidence. The location we chose to film the State of the City was Lost Art Brewing on Remembrance Road.

When we apply that theme to Lost Art Brewing, I believe it is easy to draw the connections. They have quickly become a place of ‘community’ and that is evidenced throughout the winter months when we would see customers sitting outside bundled up enjoying a well-earned, socially distanced beer with their friends and family. Our neighborhoods and our City need that sense of ‘community’ reinforced more than ever. In applying the theme of ‘priorities’ we know these are what we believe to be important to us as individuals as well as a city. Staying healthy, together, and positive the last 12 months have been critical to how well Walker has weathered the pandemic. Traveling further into 2021, ‘priorities’ will drive us in maintaining our focus to high levels of public safety, holding a strong financial position for the City, and a recovery for our residents and businesses that need us.

We connect the last theme of ‘confidence’ as something I will close with. I shared in my video that ‘confidence’ is the decision Lost Art Brewing had in opening their doors on July 1, in the middle of the pandemic. What Brad Lawrence and Mike Smith did as co-owners, with all the uncertainty we had in our world, is to be admired. So, that Walker theme of Community - Priorities - Confidence is on full display all around our city if we look for it. Stay the course here and 2021 will be much better than it started out.

Also, please expect a lot of positive news in the next few weeks surrounding our late spring and summer events. I have remained unwavering in my commitment to see that we get back to normal in Walker as soon as we can. These decisions are made in large part with guidance from our trusted partners at the Kent County Health Department. In the meantime, let’s all please do our best to mitigate the risks that could cause us to head down a different path from the one we are on right now.

Thank you for making the choice to call Walker home.

Mayor Gary Carey, Jr.
Contact your Elected Officials
Mayor Gary Carey, Jr.
(616) 292-1715

Steven Gilbert
Mayor Pro Tem
First Ward Commissioner
(616) 828-7763

Marv Raap
First Ward Commissioner
(616) 318-0677

Roxanne Deschaine
Second Ward Commissioner
(616) 885-4191

Carol Glanville
Second Ward Commissioner
(616) 443-9313

Elaina Huizenga-Chase
Third Ward Commissioner
(616) 334-1900

Melaine Grooters
Third Ward Commissioner
(616) 690-1719
City Clerk's Department

You can apply for a passport in the Clerk’s Office. No appointment necessary during Passport Office Hours, which are Monday – Thursday from 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM and Friday from 7:30 AM – 11:00 AM. Visit our website for details on passport requirements. Passports are currently taking longer than usual to process, please allow at least 8-12 weeks for your passport to be processed and mailed to you.

Every 10 years, following the census, states must redraw their political lines based on population in a process known as reapportionment. The party actively in charge of state government is responsible for redrawing the lines according to the governing acts. By November 1, 2021, the final maps must be adopted by the Commission and will become law on December 31, 2021. These new district lines will affect several members of the House, Senate, and Congress. Candidates will learn of their new districts in late 2021 and will need to quickly move to campaigning for the 2022 Election.

Election News
A Special Primary and Special Election have been called by the Governor for the 28th District of the Michigan Senate. This election call is issued for the purpose of filling a vacancy that exists in the Senate caused by the election of Senator Peter MacGregor as the Kent County Treasurer.

August 3, 2021 Special Primary Election Date
November 2, 2021 Special Election Date

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.
Income Tax Department Updates

Do you need help?
Walker Income Tax returns for calendar year 2020 and first quarter estimated payments for 2021 are due April 30, 2022. Forms are available on our website, Click here to access those forms. The most common questions are also answered on our website.

Quarterly estimated payments can be paid by direct withdrawal from a bank account. Click here for more information. Please do not attach your 2021 quarterly estimated vouchers to your 2020 return. Also, check your bank account to make sure the amount you requested to pay has been withdrawn. It usually takes from three to seven business days after the date you requested on the voucher. If you don’t see a withdrawal for the amount you requested, contact us at 616-791-6880.

Required Attachments
All resident returns must have the following attachments:
  • All form W-2s
  • Page 1 of Federal Form 1040

Filers taking a credit for tax paid to another city:
  • Copy of page one of the other city(ies) return

If applicable:
  • Detailed list of employee business expenses
  • Federal Schedule C
  • Federal Schedule D, Forms 8949, 4797, 6252
  • Federal Schedule E, including Federal Schedule K-1 for all S corporations shown on Schedule E, if any
  • Copies of all forms 1099-R for taxpayers under age 65 and form 8915-E
  • If you have any questions, call 616-791-6880.
We are receiving returns with the social security numbers showing up as all asterisks
(***-**-****). We are also seeing taxpayers requesting refunds deposited to bank accounts with account and routing numbers that are masked this same way. We are unable to process tax returns without a full social security number. We cannot direct deposit a refund to your bank account without complete bank account and routing numbers. Please check for these problems before mailing your return.

COVID Wage Allocation
If you are a resident of Walker and you worked in another city with an income tax (Grand Rapids, Ionia, Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, Lansing, etc.) in prior years, you may have a reduced credit for tax paid to another city in 2020. If you worked from home due to COVID-19 in 2020 and reduced the amount of wages on the other city return, you must also reduce the amount of wages used to calculate the credit. There is a worksheet on page 2 of the W-1040R resident return that will help with this calculation. You can also call us at 616-791-6880 if you need more information.

E-Filed Returns
Did you e-file your 2020 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, 2021 in order to avoid penalty and interest. Call us at 616-791-6866 if you have any questions.
Police Department Updates
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
The Walker Police Department will be participating in the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) Impaired Driving Enforcement Period from March 15-21. Extra officers will be on the road with a specific task: enforcing impaired driving laws. As always, we encourage everyone to drink responsibly and have a designated driver or call for a ride. Throughout the year OHSP provides police departments with grant funding to specifically target impaired driving, and seat belt enforcement. Keeping the roadways safe for everyone to travel to and from their destination is always the main goal of any traffic enforcement. Drive sober or get pulled over.
March is National Reading Month
Officer Johnson will be reading to the students at Zinser Elementary during a virtual story time. Take the time to read with your family or for yourself. Escape with a book and you never know where the adventure will take you!

Fire Department Updates

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 at 12:00 noon from April through October. During the spring and summer months these sirens are used to alert the residents in Walker who may be outdoors of the potential for severe weather (tornados, 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 (winds over 70 mph) or a tornado warning is issued, the sirens will be activated. These sirens will sound for three minutes and be followed every 10 to 15 minutes until the warning is canceled. If the sirens are activated other than on the first Friday at noon, please check your smart phone, computer or turn on your television for more weather information.
Seasonal weight and speed restrictions are now in effect and the City of Walker will be adhering to, and enforcing, these guidelines.

For more on the Kent County Road Commission's policies, along with a statewide map regarding seasonal restrictions, please click here.
Coronavirus Disease Resources
Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website for credible information regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus). 

For frequently asked questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, please click here.

We also encourage you to like and follow the Kent County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Facebook for helpful tips and reliable COVID-19 updates on a county and state level.
WIFC Group Fitness Classes
Our group fitness class schedule updated on February 22 (shown above) to include early morning classes and additional Silver Sneaker Sessions! Click here for class descriptions. Classes are included with gym memberships at no additional cost or you can pay per class ($7 regular/$4 senior). Punch cards are also available. The cost is $70 for 11 classes or $40 for a senior punch card. All classes currently require pre-registration due to capacity restrictions. You can sign up at the Front Desk or call (616) 735-6286!
Open Skate
Weekday Open Skate Sessions are back on the schedule again!! Go to our website for a complete calendar of dates and times! Additional sessions (including weekends) may be added at short notice, so be sure to follow us on social media for updates!

Masks are required at all times.
Must provide name and phone number for contact tracing.
Limited to 70 participants - first come, first served - no pre registration is offered.
$10 per person admission (no discounted rates).
No charge for skate rentals.
Member Appreciation Day
March 17 is Member Appreciation Day at the Walker Ice and Fitness Center! It's been so wonderful to have our gym family Back At It working towards healthy goals and reconnecting with each other! We have goodie bags for the first 200 members that visit us on March 17. Thank you, members, and we appreciate you each and every day!!!
Walker's Easter Egg-spedition: March 25 - April 7, 2021
Calling all Egg-splorers!
We need your help finding pictures of eggs in three of our Walker parks. Beginning March 25, you and your child can hop on over to Community Park, City Central Park and Alpine Estates Park to help the Easter Bunny find his lost eggs!
Grab an entry form at the KDL Walker Branch or the Walker Ice and Fitness Center. Write down the colors of eggs your child finds at each park. Once your child has found all the paper eggs, return that form to the KDL Walker Branch or the Walker Ice and Fitness Center by April 7 and receive a prize! Of the completed forms, three winners will be drawn at random to win an Easter basket!

One entry per child, please. Contest open to children 12 years and younger.
Hoppy Hunting and enjoy the Egg-cellent Adventure!
Recreation Department Highlights
Adult Softball
“Take it one pitch at a time and one day at a time”

Don’t forget about our Adult Softball leagues! Have a local business sponsor a team and get out and have a great time! We have men’s, women’s and coed leagues.

Registration is March 29 – April 11. Online registrations only. Games start the week of June 7, 2021 and are played Monday -Thursday evenings.

“Life will always throw you curves, just keep fouling them off,
the right pitch will come and when it does be prepared to run the bases”
Reserve any of our park facilities ONLINE at
Contact Walker Parks & Rec for more information and pricing at 616-735-6286 or email or
Check out M Parks' Virtual Play and Wellness Network: Physical activities for everyone from children to seniors!
Kent District Library Resumes In-Branch Hours
Kent District Library resumed in-branch hours in January, welcoming the public back inside the library. Patrons are invited to browse the collection and enjoy other library resources inside, in addition to having the option for curbside service.

Curbside pickup service remains popular, enabling patrons to checkout materials online and have them quickly brought to their car during regular hours. Patrons who are more comfortable using the library from home can enjoy a wide range of materials and services online, including livestreamed programs, by visiting

For health and safety reasons, KDL has a couple of guidelines in place:
  • Properly worn masks are required.
  • Private study rooms are not available for use and play spaces will be closed.
  • Patrons are asked to limit their visits to two hours. Computer use will be limited to two hours a day.
  • KDL encourages high-risk patrons to visit the branches during the first hour of the day, as they are usually less busy.
  • The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Epidemic Orders require KDL to limit building capacity to 30%.

Locations, hours and all services are detailed at
Join The Winter Reading Contest
Snuggle up with a good book this winter! Adults and teens (age 11+) who read or listen to six books from our Let It Snow reading categories between Monday, January 4 and Wednesday, March 31 earn a Let It Snow mug.

Still want more? Log four more titles — for a total of 10 books — by Wednesday, March 31 and be automatically entered into our Power Reader drawing to win an iPad or a KDL branded winter cap.

Track your reading progress online using Beanstack or complete and turn in a paper form, available as a printable PDF, or pick up a copy at any of our branches.

Log your reading online using · Beanstack website · Android app · iOS app
Introducing Sensory Packs
Because we care about the well-being and comfort of our patrons, we offer Sensory Packs. These bags contain items that can help someone needing sensory accommodations. Contents include a weighted shoulder wrap, sensory toys, headphones and more. The bags are for in-branch use only.

"We strive to make KDL a welcoming space for everyone, and our new Sensory Packs will provide much needed accommodations to our patrons with sensory issues that will improve the quality of their library experience," said Shelley Roossien, Accessibility & Inclusion Specialist.
KDL Receives Priceless Partner Award from Affinity Mentoring
We are so pleased to be the recipient of the 2021 Priceless Partner Award from Affinity Mentoring. What an honor! Affinity Mentoring partners with local businesses, organizations and schools to match students in K-8th grade with a caring adult role model to journey alongside them one hour a week. Several KDL staff members serve as mentors and KDL provides one hour of paid time per week for these mentoring sessions.

KDL also partnered with Affinity Mentoring to provide hotspots to families who were missing mentoring or virtual school due to Internet issues. "I keep a constantly moving bag of hotspots at my house that we drop off on porches as soon as we hear that Internet has gone out, can’t be paid or isn’t strong enough for all of the members of the household to work," said Cassandra Kiger, Executive Director of Affinity Mentoring.

"This is because your team went ahead and helped us apply for an organizational card, and we are now able to check out hotspots on behalf of families and deliver them with no additional barriers. We’ve heard from both mentors and parents that this has been a game changer."

Thank you Affinity Mentoring for this special award!
Friends of Walker Trails News
The Friends of Walker Trails has a Facebook page! Follow along for updates and news on our lengthy network of trails right here in Walker, as well as the West Michigan Trail Challenge!
4101 Lake Michigan Drive Walker, MI 49534
We are kicking off the new year with more fun chances to connect, virtually!

Check out our Phone Activities for January!

Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays w/ Sherri at 11am

Wednesdays w/ Lora at 9:30am

Art Class with Lora
Fridays from 1:00-3:00pm.
Call Sherri at (616) 735-3240 for more information and for supplies!

PHONE PALS: Call Sherri
at (616) 735-3240 and get connected to a fellow Walker Senior!

Questions? Contact Sherri Meines at (616) 735-3240 or by email.
March Birthdays!
Sandy Erickson
Nancy Plaisier
Karl Glass
Esther Merginer