The community has a chance to contribute to funding an all-abilities playground at Innovation Hills Park.

The community has a chance to contribute to funding an all-abilities playground at Innovation Hills Park.

Photo provided by the city of Rochester Hills

Rochester Hills launches crowdfunding campaign for Innovation Hills playground

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published April 21, 2021

ROCHESTER HILLS — The city of Rochester Hills needs $50,000 to help complete the city’s newest playground at Innovation Hills Park and is giving community members a chance to pitch in.

Rochester Hills, in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, recently launched a $50,000 crowdfunding campaign offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

The goal is to reach $50,000 by May 31, which qualifies the project for a matching grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for a grand total of $100,000 in funding for the playground.

“The MEDC will match, dollar for dollar, every donation up to $50,000 — with a little caveat. If we don’t reach $50,000 in the next few weeks, then we get nothing, so we are really hoping that the community will engage,” Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said.

Since the very beginning of the park’s development, Maria Willett, the chief assistant to the mayor of Rochester Hills, said the city’s goal has been to “create a safe, welcoming and accessible experience” at the playground.

“Thanks to the feedback from parents, community leaders and nonprofits, we have been able to create a playground that is both fun and intentionally designed for all of our children,” she said.

The $3.7 million nature-focused, universal design playground includes a custom-built multistory bebb oak treehouse with a locally themed bridge, over 20 unique play elements, two pavilions, a sand play area, and a flowing splash river that mimics the course of the actual Clinton River cutting through the park.

Willett said the playground equipment was specifically designed with earth tones to prevent overstimulation of those on the autism spectrum and was intentionally designed with a fenced enclosure to prevent children from wandering. The playground, Willett added, also includes ramps and transfer access on all play components, a universally designed route to the accessible restrooms, and an open quiet area with no playground equipment for those who need to wind down away from larger groups.

As of April 13, approximately 44 people had contributed approximately $7,635 to the campaign.

“The crowd matching grant is a really unique opportunity to not only have our community come together and (be) a part of this initiative, but also to double their investment,” Willett said.

Barnett said he’s confident the city will reach its $50,000 goal.

“I’m going to do everything in my power to see us get there. I believe in our community, I believe in people that have gotten behind this park already, and I think we’re going to get there,” he said.

After the campaign wraps up, Barnett expects to have the playground done by the end of May or the beginning of June.

“Everybody is working hard with a deadline like that so we can have a big grand opening in June, but we need to raise money. That’s what this campaign is designed to do,” he said.

For project details and to donate, visit ground.

People can make checks payable to the “Community Foundation of Greater Rochester” and drop off or mail to: Mayor’s Office, City of Rochester Hills, 1000 Rochester Hills Drive, Rochester Hills, MI 48309.