A group of Pontiac high school and college students have banded together to raise over $30,000 for the purpose of building a pocket park on that city's Home Street. Because of the successful crowdfunding campaign, three lots will now be transformed from vacant parcels into community assets.
Construction is underway on the first two lots on Home Street. The lots will include educational programming, a playground, a picnic area complete with a grill and tables, and a working fruit orchard, including pear and peach trees. A third lot will be completed within the next year, designed with the intent of creating economic opportunities for the community, though that specific programming has yet to be officially announced.
The Home Street pocket park
will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, Aug. 5.
As members of the non-profit organization The Leaders of the Future, the students not only helped organize the crowdfunding campaign but also engaged with the Home Street community to help design the park.
"For these students to think up the project, come up with the plans, and follow through on the execution, it's so much more than life-changing. It's community-changing," says Anders Engnell, CEO of The Leaders of the Future.
According to Engnell, there are 36 children, ranging in ages four to 12, that live on Home Street. It's a street without a park, making the pocket park an important addition to a neighborhood made up largely of renters, providing them something in which to take ownership.
The project has also taught the members of The Leaders of the Future skills in planning, budgeting, and design, as well as being a catalyst for high school and college students to wake up early on a Saturday morning and volunteer, says Engnell.
The Home Street pocket park crowdfunding campaign was part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's Public Spaces Community Places program. Because they successfully met their $15,000 crowdfunding goal, MEDC contributed a $15,000 matching grant to the project.
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