Running along the Grand River in the city of Grand Ledge, Jaycee Park is primed to become the city’s premier recreation spot. To that end, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Park Association Foundation (mParks Foundation) are coming together to bring a universally accessible Grand Ledge Splashpad (GL Splashpad) to the 6-acre park, with the help of a crowdfunding campaign to leverage community and financial supports.
The MEDC, mParks Foundation and city of Grand Ledge announced the online campaign; Michigan-based Patronicity is the crowdfunding platform for what will become a 2,000-square-foot amenity. If the campaign reaches its goal of $33,333 by Sept. 4, the mParks Foundation will follow through on an agreement to match the MEDC’s grant with an additional $33,333, totaling $100,000.
A collaborative effort by the MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League and Patronicity, Public Space Community Places enables crowdfunding that empowers residents to be part of the development of strategic projects in their communities and be backed by a matching grant from the MEDC.
“Public Spaces Community Places is a great resource for communities to transform and activate public spaces,” said MEDC Vice President of Community Development Katharine Czarnecki. “We are pleased to be able to partner in this effort along with the mParks Foundation to provide a two-to-one match to complete the development of the GL Splashpad, which will provide universal accessibility for all.”
MEDC’s initiative started in 2014 with the organization providing matched funding of up to $50,000 for community improvement projects throughout Michigan. As of July of this year, MEDC has provided $3,835,500 in matching grants, 131 projects have been successful in reaching their goal and $4.6 million has been raised from 22,023 individual donors since the program’s launch.
“Everyone should be able to enjoy public recreation no matter their ability,” said Ron Davis, mParks Foundation president. “The mParks Foundation is excited to be a part of this partnership that will help us further our mission by making our dollars go further. I can’t wait to witness the success of this campaign and the impact the Splashpad will have in Grand Ledge.”
The mParks Foundation is committed to enhancing the quality of experiences for everyone through the support of community enrichment, research, advocacy, natural resources and professional development of parks and recreation professionals, students and citizen advocates.
“The community initiative to bring a splashpad to Jaycee Park has been tremendous. The city of Grand Ledge looks forward to officially kicking off this project … in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and mParks,” said Grand Ledge City Administrator Adam Smith. “The City Council’s commitment to placemaking and efforts to build a better community are to be commended.”
The demand for this space was made clear in community engagement sessions for the Jaycee Park Master Plan: in a city survey, 46 percent of participants supported the project. The result is a multigenerational and universally accessible amenity for all to enjoy.
“A splash pad placed at Jaycee Park is consistent with that park’s master plan developed in 2013 and represents the next step in the park’s development,” said Rachel Kuntzsch, chair of the Grand Ledge Parks and Recreation Commission. “A recent community survey completed as part of the city’s five-year parks and recreation master plan confirmed continued strong interest for a splashpad in Grand Ledge.”
The funding raised for the GL Splashpad in this current campaign will provide a place for residents and visitors alike to come together and cool off. It will be free to the public, maintained by the city and located between the park’s boat launch and play equipment. The beautiful surroundings of Jaycee Park will add improved accessibility and connectivity to the project, including features for all stages of life.
The GL Splashpad won’t be the last development at Jaycee Park either. While the park already has a paved walking path and basketball court, an amphitheater is included in planning for future park amenities that all can enjoy.
The GL Splashpad could open as soon as the summer of 2018. For full project details and to donate, visit www.patronicity.com/GLSplashpad.