Downtown Farmington successful in their crowdfunding campaign to build new pocket park

What’s happening: The Farmington Downtown Development Authority took a big swing when they were included in the state’s placemaking initiative Public Spaces Community Places, which provides matching grants when projects reach set crowdfunding goals. The longstanding maximum goal was $50,000 – reach it, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation provides a $50,000 matching grant – but the Farmington DDA opted for a $75,000 goal, a new offering from the MEDC when projects incorporate universal accessibility features into their projects.

Farmington’s project, Enterprise Pocket Park, not only reached the goal but surpassed it by more than $5,000, ensuring that their pocket park will receive at least $150,000 in funding through the program.

What it is: The Enterprise Pocket Park project will create a new park in downtown Farmington. Located on Farmington Road, just south of Grand River Avenue and next to Sipp Smoothie & Juice Bar, the pocket park is expected to open come summer 2023. It will feature public art, overhead string lighting, firepits, outdoor seating, greenspace, and improved landscaping, which includes trees, hedges, and plant containers. The DDA partnered with the Disability Network of Eastern Michigan (DNEM) and Grissim Metz Andriese Associates to build a universally accessible park to ensure access for users of all ages and abilities.

Renderings courtesy of the MEDC.

Name change coming: Enterprise Pocket Park, the project’s working title, will ultimately be called something else. The John D. and Jean E. Dinan Foundation donated $25,000 to the crowdfunding campaign, which, as part of the deal, means that the foundation gets naming rights to the park. An official name has yet to be announced, though it will honor the Dinan family and John’s legacy as former City Manager in some way.

[Related: Read “Foundation donates $25K to Farmington park project in hopes of inspiring hometown pride” on Metromode.]

Cathy Dinan Dillon at the new pocket park site in downtown Farmington. (Photo: David Lewinski)Why it’s important: “Community is such an important part of our lives, and having another place for people to connect, to be social and be together, I think that's really important. I think it adds to the appeal here as you're driving through; it might make you want to just stop and check it out,” says Cathy Dinan Dillon of the John D. and Jean E. Dinan Foundation. “If you see this cute little area where you can have a smoothie or stop after you've been to the farmers market, a place to sit and chat with someone, it's going to catch your eye.”

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.