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City of Grand Rapids launches 'gear library' to lend equipment for outdoor activities

The gear library makes outdoor equipment more accessible to residents living in non-green areas.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The City of Grand Rapids Parks & Recreation Department unveiled a "gear library" Monday that makes outdoor equipment more accessible to residents living in non-green areas. A ceremonial ribbon-cutting was held to launch the program.

Located on the first floor of the Roosevelt Park Lodge, the gear library lends outdoor equipment, like fishing and camping tools, for free. It is open Wednesdays and Fridays from 2 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

“This gear library will have a real impact in the lives of so many by helping connect many kids and families with nature," said Stephanie Maez, the managing director of Outdoor Foundation, who helped fund the project.

Grand Rapids will be participating in National Thrive Outside Day on Saturday, Oct. 16. The city will provide free food, music, giveaways and host outdoor activities.

“Our National Thrive Outside Day events at the gear library will lift up the critical role nature plays in the lives of our young people,” said Our Community’s Children executive director Shannon L. Harris. “Studies have shown that nature improves mood and sleep quality along with promoting one’s physical well-being. The gear library serves as a conduit for those benefits.”

The library is part of the Thrive Outside Initiative, which encourages communities to enjoy more outdoor activities. The initiative also distributes grants provide outdoor experiences for communities.

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