The Rapidian

Giant chess board engages public space in play

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. has set up a giant chess board outside of the GRAM for public use.
Believe 2 Become students playing the first game of chess

Believe 2 Become students playing the first game of chess /Eric Tank

Underwriting support from:

Did you know?

Did you know that the chess board part of a larger plan by DGRI to diversify urban recreation and introduce new ways to utilize the public realm? 

Learn more about what DGRI is doing here

Believe 2 Become students analyzing their next move

Believe 2 Become students analyzing their next move /Eric Tank

On Thursday, July 17 Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) in cooperation with Grand Rapids City Parks and the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) launched the inauguration of its new giant chess board outside of the GRAM on Monroe Center. The chess board is part of an ongoing effort to diversify urban recreation and introduce new ways to utilize the public realm. 

"It's part of a larger effort of this idea to create more opportunities for recreation in downtown," says Kris Larson, President and CEO of DGRI. "Ultimately it's about allowing spontaneity to occur. Allow people to walk by it, see the opportunities."   

On site were youth from the Believe 2 Become program lead by LINC Community Revitalization. The Grand Rapids Public School students are part of a summer math program that includes learning the game of chess. 

The chess board is available for use by the public and encourages interaction with signage reading "choose your next step." DGRI obtained an encroachment permit to use the public sidewalk space. Grand Rapids Safety Ambassadors are responsible for setting up the board every morning and it will be stored in the evening at a Grand Rapids Parks facility. 

As part of DGRI's mission, a bigger project is on the horizon that involves creating a trailhead with a running and walking course through downtown with mile markers and signage.

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.

Browse