Grand Rapids' first ever community library for outdoor gear is opening next week!

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According to The Rapidian, the new "Gear Library” at the Roosevelt Park Gym is free and open to all Grand Rapids residents. You'll be able to "check out" equipment relating to camping, hiking, hammocking, yard games, and more.

The rental program is made possible by the Thrive Outside Grand Rapids (TOGR) initiative along with GR's Parks and Recreation department and other community partners. Grant support for the initiative was awarded in 2019 by the Outdoor Foundation.

TOGR believes all Grand Rapids youth should have equitable access to natural places and spaces for a happy and healthy life. Their aim is to create outdoor adventure opportunities, particularly for people of color and in neighborhoods with a lack of green space.

Sam Truby, Gear Library Supervisor, tells The Rapidian,

We feel very strongly at [TOGR] that time spent outside, however you choose to spend it, is a part of a happy and healthy life. We are launching this Gear Library because we also understand that the outdoors, and its many activities and benefits, are not currently accessible to everyone. Our hope is that this program will open up possibilities for many young people in Grand Rapids, and we are thrilled to be able to share in their outdoor adventures during the process.

The Gear Library includes items like hiking backpacks, compasses, grilling kits, first aid kits, hammocks, coolers, camping chairs, ladderball, cornhole, horseshoes, and more, and will continue to grow.

There's a ribbon cutting for the grand opening thisMonday, Oct. 11. 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at Roosevelt Park. Staff will be serving refreshments and giving tours after a brief ceremony.

Gear Library hours will be Wednesdays and Fridays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00pm.

Here's how the Gear Library works:

  1. When you arrive for your first visit, staff will sign you up with a free Gear Library membership.
  2. You'll get a short orientation on how to borrow gear
  3. You can borrow free gear for up to one week at a time

Find more information on the new Gear Library here.

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