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Crowdfunding Campaign Launched for Haymarket Plaza Project in Kalamazoo

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A $50,000 goal to win a matching grant through the MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative is on!

Haymarket Alley will soon be rehabilitated and turned into a community space within downtown Kalamazoo through a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), City of Kalamazoo, Monroe Brown Foundation, Southwest Michigan First, Catalyst, and Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership announced today. The campaign is being offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by August 31, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program. For project details and to donate, please visit: patronicity.com/haymarket.

“Creating gathering places out of long-vacant or underused property is vital to developing attractive, vibrant communities where people want to live, work, and play,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Michele Wildman. “We are pleased to bring this project to life and provide resources for this effort through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”

This project is driven by a cooperation between the city of Kalamazoo, Monroe Brown Foundation, Southwest Michigan First, Catalyst Development, and Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership. These partners worked together to create a public alley activation that will run along the north side of East Michigan Avenue between the Main Street East and will be named after the historic Haymarket District from which it is located.

“Spaces like these are exactly what our downtown needs to attract more people downtown. We cannot afford to be complacent with the options that currently exist as people crave diverse venues where they can mix together,” said Ron Kitchens, chief executive officer and senior partner of Southwest Michigan First. “This program offers an exciting opportunity to make this project happen.”

The plaza was designed by Tower Pinkster Architects and Kingscott Associates and will feature a snow-melt system, decorative concrete and lighting, Landscape Forms furniture, an open area designed for entertainment and/or food trucks, and an outdoor seating area for food/beverages. Lastly, there will be two projection-mapping projectors designed to display art, announcements, and entertainment. The projectors will cast images on the northeast elevation of the Haymarket building in the evenings.

“We have always felt like our properties created a neighborhood in and of themselves on East Michigan Avenue. We are very excited to work alongside Catalyst, the city of Kalamazoo and our project partners to create a physical space for the community out of that idea,” said Treystar Development/Leasing Manager Fritz Brown. “This plaza will be more than an addition to our shared properties; it will be a destination for relaxation and community events for those who live, work and recreate in the heart of downtown Kalamazoo.”

Public Spaces Community Places is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League, and Patronicity, in which local residents can use crowdfunding to be part of the development of strategic projects in their communities and be backed with a matching grant from MEDC. Communities, nonprofits and other business entities can apply at https://patronicity.com/puremichigan.

“Creating inviting public spaces is key to great placemaking,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “Bringing new life to an underutilized alley makes the project even more vital for the community.”

The Public Spaces Community Places initiative started in 2014 with MEDC providing matched funding of up to $50,000 for community improvement projects throughout Michigan. As of July 1, MEDC has provided more than $7.5 million in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 244 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with $8.7 million raised from 44,141 individual donors.

How can you help make it happen? Donate at patronicity.com/haymarket.

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