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Popular food trucks bring not only fun, but safety to Grand Rapids neighborhood

Neighbors of Belknap Lookout held their final Tour de Food Trucks event of the year Thursday. It's a new event that organizers say has helped the neighborhood.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — When it comes to sunsets, Belknap Park is a pretty hard spot to beat in the Grand Rapids metro area. And during the golden hour Thursday, food trucks lined the street giving residents of the Belknap Lookout neighborhood one more  thing to look forward to.

"This is a new series that is underwritten by the city's office of special events so that we can bring beneficial uses into our park and have neighbors enjoy a lovely night out," said Elianna Bootzin who serves as the executive director of Neighbors of Belknap Lookout.

Along with providing a good time, Bootzin also believes having food trucks and other events at the park make the neighborhood a safer place to be. It gets more eyes on the park and with food trucks lining the street, drivers tend to slow down.

"It's been great. We've had, I think, a couple hundred people out the first two nights in July and August," she said.

Thursday's event was the last of the season for Tour de Food Trucks. And with fall now here, the season is also winding down for Dan Monselise, the owner of The Falafel Truck. If his success is any indicator, the popularity of food trucks continues to rise in West Michigan.

"This season was much better than last year and much better than two years ago. People are starting to be aware of us and calling us and inviting us," Monselise said.

"We had between a 30 to 40% increase from last year. So I can only imagine and hope for next year."

Monselise says his business is the only falafel food truck in West Michigan that he is aware of, and the only kosher one. He is grateful for the support customers have shown him.

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