The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with several other organizations, has launched an innovative placemaking initiative funded through a combination of crowdfunding and matching grants.
The Public Spaces Community Places is a collaborative effort involving the MEDC, crowdfunding platform Patronicity and the Michigan Municipal League.
Local residents will be able to be a part of transformational projects in their communities, supported with a matching grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
‚ÄúInnovative placemaking efforts help create thriving, sustainable and unique places where workers, entrepreneurs, and businesses want to locate, invest and expand,‚Äù said Governor Rick Snyder.
A platform has been created (www.crowdfundingmi.com) where projects submitted by communities, non-profits and businesses will seek online crowdfunding pledges from the project‚Äôs supporters, residents and community members.
Projects must focus on things such¬†as outdoor plaza or park enhancements that activate public spaces and capture public awareness and momentum.
Any project which meets its fundraising goals on the platform will then be eligible to receive a matching grant of up to $100,000 from the MEDC.
This is the first program of its kind in the nation involving a state agency. Michael A. Finney, president and CEO of the MEDC, said that Public Spaces Community Places is a new tool that communities can use for creating vibrant public spaces with the potential to bring new vitality to the community and serve as a catalyst for additional economic activity.
Finney added that this was a great way to leverage the pride residents and businesses have in their communities.
The website for the platform was designed by the Michigan Municipal League as a one-stop resource for the crowdfunding needs of Michigan communities, businesses and investors.¬†Projects may be submitted starting July 9, 2014 through Patronicity.
Michigan Municipal League Executive Director and CEO Daniel Gilmartin said they believe this program will inspire and assist communities of all shapes and sizes take on and complete projects they could previously only dream about.
Patronicity Founder and CEO Chris Blauvelt said that through crowdfunding, MEDC is empowering everyday citizens to have a dramatic impact on their communities.
The MEDC has chosen Midtown Detroit Inc.‚Äôs Green Alley Project as a pilot project for the program. This is a $200,000 project which has already secured a $100,000 grant. Midtown Detroit will seek to raise $50,000 through crowdfunding to transform the 415-foot alley with enhancements such as a new design to promote walkability and community connectivity, and green infrastructure upgrades that reduce the burden of storm water on the city‚Äôs sewer system.
If they are successful at raising the $50,000 target through crowdfunding, then the remaining $50,000 will be provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
Midtown Detroit Inc. President Susan T. Mosey thinks it‚Äôs doable, noting that the idea of creating something sustainable and impactful for the community out of something so blighted has really resonated in the Midtown community.