Greenville gazebo overlooking Baldwin Lake honors Fred Meijer

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 9:52 am on Thursday, November 29, 2012

In honor of Fred Meijer, a gazebo was built along the Flat River Trail that overlooks Baldwin Lake in Greenville. – Daily News/Cory Smith

GREENVILLE — A gazebo now sits overlooking  Baldwin Lake on the Fred Meijer Flat River Trail in Fred Meijer’s honor.

The Greenville Area Community Foundation, Spectrum Health United Hospital and Montcalm County Habitat for Humanity collaborated to build the gazebo honoring Meijer.

“With his significant support of trails in the West Michigan region and especially Greenville and Montcalm County, we thought offering a resting spot on the trail with his name on it that circles the city of Greenville would be a nice gesture,” said Alison Barberi, executive director of the Greenville Area Community Foundation.

Barberi said Meijer and the Meijer Foundation have given to the area significantly over the years including donating endowment funds, supporting the hospital, gifting sculptures, participating in fundraising campaigns and more.

“Sending flowers to his funeral just didn’t seem like the sort of thing that showed the family what a great friend he was to our area,” she said. “Something that people of all abilities could enjoy on his trail seemed like a natural fit.”

The new gazebo was built by Montcalm County Habitat for Humanity. — Daily News/Cory Smith

The gazebo, which sits on city property and will be kept up by the city, is for the general public to use.

The purpose of the gazebo is to be a resting spot on the trail, but it is not meant to be a spot for people to linger for long periods of time.

“It offers a beautiful view of the beach and lake and should be shared for all who travel the trail,” Barberi said.

Discussion was first held about placing a bench, which included a statue of Meijer, on the trail allowing a place for people to sit along the way. The bench already existed, but it is being planned to be placed at a park being developed in Meijer’s honor at the Meijer corporate headquarters.

Barberi said when it came to the collaboration between the foundation, hospital and Habitat for Humanity, everyone seemed excited about the project.

“Spectrum Health United Hospital is proud to partner with the Greenville Area Community Foundation and Habitat for Humanity on this special recognition and benefit for our community,” said Percy Mahar, chief clinical officer at Spectrum Health United and Kelsey hospitals. “Fred and Lena Meijer have always been strong supporters of United and Kelsey hospitals; this is a great way to honor Fred and to promote a healthy lifestyle.”

People can rest inside the newly built gazebo in Fred Meijer’s honor along the Flat River Trail in Greenville. – Daily News/Cory Smith

A dedication ceremony is being planned when warmer weather arrives so Lena Meijer and other family members are able to attend.

Barberi said they would like to include a plaque and bike rack before the area is complete.

“The gazebo is another nice addition to the trail and will prove a welcoming space to rest or escape harsh weather,” Mahar said.

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