MEDC crowdfunding program could boost funds for Douglas parks

Allegan County

DOUGLAS, Mich. (WOOD) — A crowdfunding campaign is raising money to improve parks in Douglas and the effort could qualify for additional funding through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation if the goal is reached.

The new fundraising effort began May 1 and could double the money raised. If $25,000 is donated before June 30, an additional $25,000 in matching funds will be provided through the MEDC Public Spaces Community Places program.

Kristen Schipper, a member of the Douglas Park Project Committee, says the crowdfunding effort provides a great opportunity.

“If we are successful, we will be able to complete everything we need to do here at Beery Field and then we can use any additional funds for Schultz Park,” Schipper said.

The project will upgrade the playground and provide a new smaller play structure designed for toddlers.

“We just want to include features that children of all ages can enjoy,” Schipper said.

The plans for Beery Field call for safe and accessible play surfaces and ADA compliant structures. A fitness area for adults is also planned for Schultz Park, in addition to playground upgrades.

If the fundraising campaign with the MEDC reaches its goal, the committee says Beery Field would be finished this summer, along with the initial phase of Schultz Park.

The fundraiser began in 2019 for the $325,000 project to revamp both parks but was put on pause because of the pandemic. The total amount raised so far is approximately $55,000.

Anna Gregg, the chair of the committee, says the community is very supportive of the project, which has already received approval from the city of Douglas.

“There’s really a need for a large park around here. We get a lot of visitors. The closest park is downtown Saugatuck, which is really hard to get to in the summer with all the tourists,” Gregg said.

The committee says many people appreciate the value of the parks like never before.

“I think if anything, we learned how important outdoor spaces were during the shutdown,” Gregg said. “It was the one safe place everybody could go and get their kids outside.”

If you would like to donate to the project, you can visit the Patronicity website.

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