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Community Updates: Friday, July 7

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, City Manager Mark Washington back in Grand Rapids after international visit to two of Grand Rapids's Sister Cities; John Ball Zoo to honor World Chimp Day with day-long celebration; and more
A body of water as seen from between the foliage at Millenium Park

A body of water as seen from between the foliage at Millenium Park /Ann-Marie Jurek

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea /City of Grand Rapids

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, City Manager Mark Washington Back in Grand Rapids After International Visit to Two of Grand Rapids's Sister Cities 

In a press release that was sent out on Thursday, July 6, it was announced that 15 members of the Grand Rapids community (including Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, City Manager Mark Washington, and Grand Rapids Sister Cities International) have officially returned to the City after a visit overseas.

The delegates recently traveled to Asia to visit local leaders, businesses, and culturally/historically significant locations in two of Grand Rapids's Sister Cities -- Ōmihachiman, Japan and Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea. The purpose of this trip was to help bolster the relationship between Grand Rapids and its Sister Cities, as well as encourage further collaboration in economic development. It also provided an opportunity for City leadership to learn more about local culture and infrastructure. According to City Manager Mark Washington:

"While establishing formal partnerships and dialog with these communities through the Sister Cities framework is important, there is something truly special about our personal interaction and direct communication with leaders and officials from Ōmihachiman and Gangnam-gu. I valued forming a more robust relationship with our Sister Cities partners. We were able to discuss ways where we can work on common community and economic development issues that both cities share. We also discussed how they address mobility, housing and density concerns. Mayor Bliss and I extended an invitation to their delegations to visit Grand Rapids and look forward to welcoming them here in the future to showcase our community."

For more information about the trip, visit the City's website. For more information about Grand Rapids's six Sister Cities (Bielsko-Biała, Poland, Ga District, Ghana, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South KoreaŌmihachiman, Japan, Perugia, Italy, and Zapopan, Mexico), visit Grand Rapids Sister Cities International's website.


John Ball Zoo to Honor World Chimp Day with Day-Long Celebration

On Friday, July 14, John Ball Zoo (JBZ) will be hosting a celebration in honor of World Chimp Day.

Attendees can stop in to visit the Zoo's chimpanzees and take part in numerous other activities that will be offered. According to the event posting on the Zoo's website, there will be "Chimpanzee Conservation Stations" set up to help educate visitors about chimpanzees, as well as many other "animal programs" for guests to enjoy. Circle Theatre will also be on-site to contribute to the festivities -- holding a Story Time that is scheduled to begin at 11:00am.

John Ball Zoo's Habitat Heroes program will also be "passing out native pollinator friendly plants" to guests.

Additionally, families are welcome to attend the Disney character meet-and-greet that will be held from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Parents can bring their children to see Jane Porter from Tarzan, Princess Elena from Elena of Avalor, and Princess Jasmine and Aladdin from Aladdin. However, the Zoo is encouraging visitors to remember that "character rotations occur throughout the day; due to breaks specific character meetings are not guaranteed." 

For more information about the World Chimp Day celebration at John Ball Zoo, visit the Zoo's website


Also in the News:

  • The Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) has announced that it has set up a box in the lobby of its headquarters in downtown Grand Rapids to collect donations of athletic shoes for In the Image's SHOES ("Shoes Help Our Elementary Students") program. For more information about the program, visit In the Image's website. For more information about guidelines and the drop-off location, check out the GRPD's Facebook post.


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