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West Grand Block Party Named by as One of the Top 5 Things to do Around Grand Rapids This Week!

posted Aug 27, 2015, 7:56 PM by mail

August 27, 2015 recently named the West Grand Block Party on of the Top 5 Things to do Around Grand Rapids this week! Check out their article at: - Top 5 Things to do around Grand Rapids

A note from our Interim Executive Director, Robert Tolbert:

"Let's have some FUN!  We have partnered with three neighborhood businesses to throw a Block Party Fundraiser!

The Mitten, Two Scotts BBQ and Longroad Distillers have come together to donate proceeds to The West Grand Neighborhood Organization (WGNO).  What a great example of how our businesses are making investments back into the neighborhood.  We'll identify even more areas where businesses can sponsor events to benefit our community.

Let's keep the growing spirit of unity alive in the neighborhood streets of the West Side.  Like never before our residents, businesses and community organizations are working together!  Collaborating and making our neighborhood a better place to LIVE, LEARN, WORK, and PLAY!"

West Grand Block Party event details:
West Grand Neighborhood Organization will host an inaugural block party on Saturday, August 29 from 12PM – 8PM. The party grounds will include the customer parking lots of Long Road Distillers (537 Leonard NW) and The Mitten Brewing Company (527 Leonard NW). A portion of Quarry Street NW north of Leonard will also be closed to accommodate. 
The purpose of the event is to inform residents about WGNO and its programs, raise funds for the organization, and to provide a forum for neighbors and residents to socialize. There is a suggested donation of $5 for admission. Paid admission to the block party will grant a one year paid WGNO membership to guests who live in the neighborhood. 
The block party will feature West Grand business vendors, and food from Two Scotts Barbecue, craft beer and wine from The Mitten Brewing Company, spirits from Long Road Distillers, and coffee from Ferris Coffee and Nut will all be available for purchase. Additionally, there will be live music from 2PM – 8PM featuring performances from DJ Vinyl Fetish, JOE, AOK, The Legal 
Immigrants, Shane Tripp and Boot Strap Boys. 
All profits will directly benefit WGNO, and will be applied to important neighborhood programs like Neighborhood Watch, National Night Out, Dumpster Days, Auto Theft Prevention, and more.  

For more information and details check out our website
To see the West Grand Block Party event on Facebook:

WGNO Receives Donation From Deportivo West Side Soccer Team

posted Aug 25, 2015, 8:09 PM by Chi Benedict   [ updated Aug 26, 2015, 8:57 AM ]

Grand Rapids neighborhoods came together for the first year of the GR Champions League; a new local community soccer league. Teams from different neighborhoods played each other once a week throughout the summer and early fall at area soccer fields. The league was started to celebrate and connect the unique citizens and neighborhoods of Grand Rapids through the sport.

Currently there are six neighborhood teams including:

Deportivo West Side - Home Field: Harrison Park School

Downtown Heartsiders - Home Field: Heartside Park

Eastown United - Home Field: Wilcox Park

FC Southtown - Home Field: Burton Elementary

Heritage Hill Lyons - Home Field: GRCC

Southeast United - Home Field: Congress School

Each player was asked to donate $10 at the beginning of the season. Each neighborhood team then took the donations and together picked a local nonprofit where they would donate the money. Deportivo Westside whose home field is at Harrison Park School donated their money to the West Grand Neighborhood Organization this year.

Deportivo West Side in action.

Players on Deportivo Westside included people from Challenge Scholars, the Literacy Center of West Michigan, D.A. Blodgett St. John's, Kent School Services Network, Kids Food Basket, Bridge Street House of Prayer, Partners for a Racism-Free Community, Union High School, Keystone Community Church and The Other Way Ministries.

On August 24, 2015 Sergio Cira Reyes and Ben Oliver (Team Captain) of Deportivo West Side present West Grand Neighborhood Organization's
Interim Executive Director, Robert Tolbert with a check for the money raised by the players of the team.

West Grand Neighborhood Organization would like to thank the players of Deportivo West Side for their generous donation and we are glad to have them be a part of our community! 

If you would like more information about the GR Champions League contact: Bill Kirk

Deportivo West Side and West Grand Neighborhood Organizations Interim Executive Director, Robert Tolbert.

Westside Walk for Gilda's

posted Aug 22, 2015, 11:23 AM by mail

Gilda's Club of Grand Rapids Presents:

For Registration and more information, please go to:

Free Auto Theft Prevention VIN Etching Event

posted Aug 13, 2015, 7:58 AM by mail   [ updated Aug 18, 2015, 5:47 AM ]

Auto Theft Prevention VIN Etching Event

Date: Monday, August 24, 2015
Time: 9:00 AM - 11 AM
Cost: FREE
Location: In the municipal lot behind the WGNO office at 415 Leonard St. NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504

WGNO will be doing FREE VIN etching from 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM on Monday, August 24th!


Protect your vehicle with this free service provided by the Michigan State Police Auto Theft Prevention Authority. Etching your vehicle only takes 7-10 minutes!


A specially designed program to combat auto theft, ATPA is supported by a Michigan State Police grant. Through ATPA, each automobile's Vehicle Identification Number is engraved on all pieces of auto glass with a stencil and special acid. Because thieves can't re-sell a VIN-etched car without exposing their activity, and because replacing auto glass is prohibitively expensive, research shows that autos with VIN-etched glass are far less likely to be stolen. Many insurance companies offer reduced premiums to owners of cars with VIN-etched glass. Two retired policemen, Jim Brower and Rob Prescher, coordinate the ATPA program throughout southern Michigan, and work out of the WGNO office.  

 For more information contact Jim or Rob at 451-0150.

West Grand Block Party

posted Aug 8, 2015, 2:11 PM by Chi Benedict   [ updated Aug 19, 2015, 10:41 AM by mail ]

The Mitten Brewing Company, Two Scotts BBQ and Long Road Distillers Present:

On Saturday, August 29th the stage is set for the first annual West Grand Block Party! Quarry St. will be closed North of Leonard to accommodate.

12 PM - 8 PM
$5 Admission

Live Music & DJ sets from 1 PM - 8 PM and Include:

DJ Vinyl Fetish will spin sets before and between sets
2-2:45 Joe
3:15-4 AOK
4:30-5:15 The Legal Immigrants
5:45-6:30 Shane Tripp
7:15-8 Boot Strap Boys

Beer from The Mitten Brewing Company
Food from Two Scotts BBQ
Spirits from Long Road Distillers

All proceeds to benefit West Grand Neighborhood Organization.

Brought to you by:

Mercantile Bank Of Michigan
616 Development
Open System Technologies 
Westside Garage
Ferris Coffee
Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc.
Rockford Construction

A word from our Interim Executive Director

posted Aug 4, 2015, 7:22 AM by mail

Hello Neighbors and Friends,

The news of the suicide shooting at our local 5/3 Bank Branch at the corner of Leonard & Alpine was a sad and disturbing incident to learn of yesterday. Our Interim Community Engagement Specialist, Chi Benedict happened to be near the location following the event and immediately called me with concern about the police activity outside the bank.  Together, we learned of the details as more information was released.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all involved.  Witnessing such an act is traumatic. It should also make all of us as neighbors take a moment of silence to reflect.  We will follow the investigation and keep you posted.

What you can do?
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call police at 616-451-3604 or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345 or online at

Also don't forget about TONIGHT 6-8PM: National Night Out
Stocking Elementary
-Crime Prevention
-Food / Games / Raffles & More


Robert Tolbert, MBA
Executive Director - Interim
West Grand Neighborhood Organization

GRPD Press Release: Citizen Police Academy 2015

posted Jul 31, 2015, 11:09 AM by mail

Press Release: 
The Grand Rapids Police Department will be hosting its 19th Citizen Police Academy beginning Tuesday, September 15, 2015. The Citizen Police Academy (CPA) is a ten (10) week program that meets once a week on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. This program is designed to provide members of the Grand Rapids community with additional knowledge about their police department. The deadline for accepting applications is Friday, August 21, 2015. 

Additional details are in the press release below:

A Letter from our Interim Executive Director:

posted Jul 31, 2015, 9:00 AM by mail

Hello Neighbors and Friends,

As the new Interim leader for the West Grand Neighborhood Organization (WGNO), I have been in close contact with the GRPD regarding the shooting incidents that have occurred over the last month.  In response to the shooting incidents we have learned that the GRPD plans increased foot patrols, more uniformed officer presence and directed patrol in addition to ongoing efforts to the immediately effected areas.

I want you to know that I am listening to your concerns.  I welcome your feedback.  It is the only way we can continue to improve WGNO!  I am a leader who listens to tough feedback with an open mind, so be sure you can also provide suggestions or be open to help with solutions.  Many of you have asked..."How can I help?"... "What is WGNO doing for me and my family on this issue?"

How you can help WGNO! 

Get Involved!
Please contact us to volunteer and to make yourself available to help with our programs and services.  Contact Chi Benedict our Interim Community Engagement Specialist to find out more information.

Join WGNO!
Our neighborhood organization is funded by grants and fundraising.  To ensure that we are able to continue improving the neighborhood, become a member!  Check our website for more

What is planned for you and your family!
Tuesday, August 4th at Stocking Elementary

Please come out and  hear from WGNO, Grand Rapids Police and Fire and the many business and non-profit community sponsors who promise to make this event fun and informative for your entire family.  Meet your neighbors and enjoy food, games, raffles and more.  Most importantly you can learn crime prevention strategies and tips.  

The best thing we can do as neighbors is to remain vigilant in our efforts to keep the community safe - keeping our eyes and ears open and notifying authorities of suspicious activity.  Also learning how to talk with our neighbors to encourage safety is important as well.  Our next board meeting will be on August 17th and my top priority is to listen to residents, look at the data and together work to ensure that our neighborhood continues to be a great place to LIVE! WORK! and PLAY!

Don't hesitate to contact me directly or stop by our offices.  I've met many of you and one of the experiences I bring to this position is that I have worked in our neighborhood public schools as a substitute teacher.  Many neighborhood students will know me as "Mr. T".  You will learn that I care about our neighborhood and that my top priority is making our neighborhood better for the next generation.  

Our office is conveniently located at 415 Leonard NW (at 131 across from Speedway next door to Branns).  Our phone number is (616) 451-0150.  Website:

Summer Office Hours
Monday - Thursday9AM - 12PM

I am available to meet outside of those hours if needed as well.

I'll see you on Tuesday at Stocking Elementary at National Night Out!

Have a great weekend - and be safe!

Robert Tolbert, MBA
Executive Director - Interim
West Grand Neighborhood Organization

National Night Out 2015

posted Jul 16, 2015, 3:30 PM by mail   [ updated Jul 16, 2015, 3:30 PM ]

Hello West Grand Neighborhood Friends!

Take a stance against crime for the community with the city, police and fire department. We could use your help!

Thank you so much for your time! It is appreciated!

July 4th Firework Ordinance and Safety for Humans/Pets

posted Jul 4, 2015, 11:19 AM by mail   [ updated Jul 4, 2015, 1:21 PM ]

Happy July 4th everyone! Please stay safe when you are celebrating today and also be considerate of your neighbors. 
Here is a breakdown that WGNO put together for residents of the laws:

If you want to download a version of this to print or that has the clickable links, check out our .pdf files below under "Recent Files"

Recent Files

  • Pets and July 4th Celebrations.pdf   215k - Jul 4, 2015, 1:14 PM by mail (v1)
  • July 4th Firework Ordinances and Safety.pdf   305k - Jul 4, 2015, 11:48 AM by mail (v2)
  • MembershipApplicationSpanishEnglish2.pdf   119k - Jun 28, 2015, 10:54 AM by Chi Benedict (v1)
  • WGNO Brochure.pdf   684k - Jun 18, 2015, 11:38 PM by mail (v1)
  • spring newsletter 2015.pdf   431k - Mar 13, 2015, 6:39 AM by mail (v2)
Showing 5 files from page Resources.

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