Versluis Park

Project Details


Plainfield Charter Township


Grand Rapids, MI


1.5 acres





Created off the shore of a 50 acre man-made lake in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Versluis Park offers playground areas, sand volleyball, picnic facilities, boating, fishing and swimming. The popularity of the park gave community leaders the opportunity to fulfill a local need by creating a “fully accessible recreational experience.” The revitalized park would make access to the beach and swimming area possible for people of all abilities.


The objective of the project was to make Versluis Park more accessible for people of all abilities. Community leaders aspired to have waterfront activities, including fishing and the swimming beach, be accessible by people who used wheelchairs and who found moving along sand and uneven surfaces difficult. The biggest challenge of the project was maintaining the barrier-free accessibility of the park while accommodating a 7-foot fluctuation in the lake level.


To help make the park more accessible, the design team at Progressive AE, along with input from community leaders and key stakeholders, came up with the following design elements:

  • 8-foot-wide linear boardwalk
  • Handicap-accessible beach deck
  • Boat launching area for small watercraft
  • Handicap-accessible water access transfer steps and ramp
  • Viewing areas with bench seating
  • Floating lifeguard pier and
  • Floating handicap-accessible fishing pier

The accessibility of the park was recognized through a number of awards, including:

  • DaVinci Award for Universal Design
  • Michigan Chapter – American Society of Landscape Architects Merit Award for Design
  • Michigan Recreation & Parks Association Award