Grand Rapids hosts second annual "Open Streets" event

By KBJR News 1

June 7, 2014 Updated Jun 8, 2014 at 8:32 AM CST

Grand Rapids, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Several neighborhood blocks in Grand Rapids came alive Saturday with bicycles, foot traffic and plenty of dancing.

The physical activities helped people get their blood pumping during the second annual Open Streets event, hosted by Get Fit Itasca.

One and a half miles of city streets were closed to traffic as hundreds played three on three basketball, soared to new heights while rock climbing, or went for a brisk walk.

The event hits close to home for the event's organizer who says it's important to get fit and stay healthy.

"I have family members and I have struggled with weight my entire life, and I'm scared to death by the statistics that our children will live less likely lives if we don't make changes the way we eat or move," said Meghan Bown, the community health director for Get Fit Itasca.

In an effort to get more people moving, and safely, through Grand Rapids, officials cut the ribbon on new bike lanes in the city.

The dedicated bike lanes, at a cost of nearly $19 thousand, are a part of a re-striping project that stretches 12 blocks along Fifth Street Northeast.

The money comes from several grants including Blue Cross Blue Shield and Get Fit Itasca.

"This road is, in terms of residential traffic, is very, very busy and we've had a lot of close calls on bicycles, and I think this is going to contribute to some real safety and we're looking forward to it," said Sen. Tom Saxhaug (DFL-Grand Rapids).

The re-striping is considered a trial run as Fifth Street is set for reconstruction in 2017.

Written by Kevin Jacobsen
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