Meijer Gardens plots expansion on 35 acres


Tony Cragg’s “Bent of Mind” sculpture at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Photo via

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has purchased 35 acres that it expects to eventually use for an expansion.

The property is off of Leonard Street NE, across from Forest Hills Northern High School, and was purchased earlier this fall.

Nothing specific is planned for the site, said David Hooker, Meijer Gardens president and CEO.

Hooker said that any construction on the site would be in line with the Garden’s four key focuses: sculpture, horticulture, appreciation of the natural environment or art.

“Anything that we eventually do with that property will be somehow a reflection of our mission,” Hooker said.

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YMCA plans

The property was previously on the radar of the YMCA, which had hoped to construct a gym on the site and relocate its Forest Hills operations there.

Due to the interest in the property by Meijer Gardens, the Meijer family offered to gift the YMCA an approximately 35-acre parcel down the street, pending approval for the proposed project by Grand Rapids Township.

In the end, the YMCA was unable to get approval from the township and dropped its plans to pursue either property for a Forest Hills YMCA building.

The YMCA had received a slew of objections from the local community over both sites, due to fear that a project would cause too much traffic in the area.

Hooker said he can’t speculate on what sorts of concerns may be posed to Meijer Gardens based on possible traffic increases.

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