Grand Haven Tribune: Fundraising for new play space reaches $432K

Fundraising for new play space reaches $432K

Krystle Wagner • Jul 11, 2018 at 2:00 PM

The efforts to secure funding for a new play space in Grand Haven is nearing the fundraising goal of $500,000.

So far, a little more than $432,400 has been received for the Reimagine Project. Efforts are underway to raise an additional $50,000 by July 27 in order to receive a matching grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. A little more than $27,400 has been received toward the matching grant.

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“We have some pledges outstanding, but we will still rely on a great deal of grass-roots support the next 17 days to close the gap to $50,000,” project fundraising co-chairperson Katie Appold said.

Local employers such as Automatic Spring Products, Grand Haven Custom Molding, Herman Miller, JSJ Corp., Shape Corp. and Westwind Construction have raised more than $70,000 for the project, according to a press release.

Overall, Chris Streng said the Reimagine Project efforts are going “extremely well.” Streng, who co-chairs the Reimagine Project his wife, Kristi, said the community is generous, and people feel enriched by giving because children designed the space and the community will fund and build it.

In October 2017, local students redesigned the more than 20,000-square-foot space at Mulligan’s Hollow. Designers from Leathers & Associates turned those ideas into the final design.

More than 1,500 volunteers are expected to help the design take shape during the week of Oct. 8.

Individuals and companies have started volunteering to build the new space. Streng noted that some of the people expected to participate also built the original Imagination Station.

The outpouring of monetary and volunteer support isn’t a surprise to Streng.

“We have this awesome culture in Grand Haven where we care about each other,” he said.

People interested in contributing toward the Reimagine Project can also sponsor fence pickets that will surround the new play space. More than 500 pickets remain available for $100 each. With more than 300 already sponsored, Appold said it’s been fun seeing the different sponsorships from families, sports teams, churches and more.

Appold said that being involved in the project has made her “even more grateful to live” in the area.

“This is a community of doers who love a challenge, believe in the power of collaboration and seek ways to make things better for all,” she said. “We’re becoming a community where no one is left behind. The new Imagination Station will be more than a play space. It’s a case study in what living in a community can and should look like. It’s a privilege.”

The other fundraising co-chairperson, Mary Ten Cate, said working on the Reimagine Project has been a fun and rewarding experience.

“The community as a whole has been encouraging and supportive, and I look forward to seeing everyone coming together in October to make this project a reality,” she said.

Appold said there aren’t many campaigns that “can boast amazing diversity of support the Reimagine Project has received.”

“From the strong municipal investment to children selling bracelets or lemonade, to the corporate giver underwriting a major component, we have seen every age, faction and level of support become part of this project,” she said. “It has truly been a community endeavor. When all is said and done, I think it will be as exciting to see how many donors and groups support as it is to see the final dollar amount collected.”

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