A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help  support a potential pocket park in downtown Farmington. The site  of the potential park is south of Grand River Avenue, off of  Farmington Road, next to SIPP Smoothie & Juice Bar.

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help support a potential pocket park in downtown Farmington. The site of the potential park is south of Grand River Avenue, off of Farmington Road, next to SIPP Smoothie & Juice Bar.

Rendering provided by patronicity.com/farmington

Crowdfunding campaign launched for downtown Farmington pocket park

‘This project is important to Farmington’

By: Mark Vest | Farmington Press | Published January 24, 2023

 A rendering shows what a potential pocket park in downtown Farmington could look like.

A rendering shows what a potential pocket park in downtown Farmington could look like.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


FARMINGTON — In the midst of the development that has been taking place in downtown Farmington, residents have something else to look forward to.

A pocket park may become a reality this year, aided by the support of a crowdfunding campaign that has been launched.

The name of the projected park is the Enterprise Pocket Park.

“Downtown Farmington will gain a new universally accessible pocket park through the anticipated success of a crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Farmington Downtown Development Authority announced,” a press release states. “The campaign is being offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.”

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $75,000 by Jan. 31, the project will win a matching grant, with funds made possible by MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program.

The Public Spaces Community Places initiative started in 2014, with the MEDC providing matching funds for community improvement projects throughout Michigan. Communities have a 97% success rate in earning matching funds, according to the release.

The site of the project is on Farmington Road.

“It’s between the historic Enterprise building, which is why it’s the Enterprise Pocket Park, and SIPP Smoothie and Juice Bar,” said Farmington Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Kate Knight. “So, it’s a node that’s close to Grand River. It’s between two existing buildings and bordered by Farmington Road on the east side and a city parking lot on the west side.”

Knight estimated that the space of the projected park is the depth of “maybe like two parking spaces, head-to-tail.”

“So, it’s not like a large-field playground,” she said. “It’s a very tight downtown space.”

According to the release, the project will transform an “old, tired” asphalt space into one that is vibrant, green and lighted.

The park is expected to feature a public art installation, overhead string lighting, firepits, outdoor seating and greenspace complete with turf, trees and planters.

It has the potential to be a popular public gathering space.

“We can see hosting programming there, having live music, all of those things,” Knight said. “We have a series that we run at the larger spaces downtown, but this provides some beautiful recreation space for this corner of downtown.”

The Farmington Road streetscape, which runs between Alta Loma Drive and Grand River Avenue, began last year, and the pocket park could serve as a nice complement to that project.

“We’ve had this in mind for about a decade, when we first began designing the Farmington Road streetscape,” Knight said. “It was designed then as a complimentary public space. … This has always been designated as a priority space for downtown, with that.”

The project has also captured the attention of the state of Michigan.

“This project will breathe new life into an underutilized space by creating a pocket park with an inclusive and accessible design that the entire community can enjoy,” MEDC Executive Vice President of Economic Development Incentives Michele Wildman stated via the release. “We are pleased to support and provide resources for this project through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”

The crowdfunding campaign gives residents an opportunity to play an active role in the development of the pocket park.

“For (as) little as $5, $10, you have an option to throw that into this community effort, and the state of Michigan will match that if we hit our goal,” Knight said. “Typically, it’s $50,000 in matching funds. That’s the way this program has run over the past several years they’ve been running it, but they have a new option this year, and that is to encourage universal design, which is ADA accessibility — Americans with Disabilities Act. They are throwing another option for $25,000 in matching funds. So, it raises our bar, (in) terms of fundraising, certainly.”

It is Knight’s intention to reach the $75,000 crowdfunding goal by Jan. 31.

“We’re taking the challenge to make it accessible to all kinds of folks who use that public space and just make it a no-brainer to gather downtown and engage them that way,” she said. “So, it’s like a lot of these placemaking exercises — you activate a space and make it intriguing, usable, easily found, beautiful, and people figure out how to use it. … We expect that the overall investment will be $350,000-$400,000 for that space. … We’re committed to investing in that as a priority space downtown, and our initial fund-raising effort helps us do that.”

The city can apply for grants and seek partnerships to assist with funding the project, but when asked about the possibility of raising taxes to help fund it, Knight said, “we will not do that.”

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 the MEDC, according to the release.

“The Michigan Municipal League is a firm believer in the importance of building community wealth,” MML CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin stated via the release. “This pocket park will improve the human experience for all in the Farmington community and create a positive impact for generations to come. This is really what community wealth building is all about.”

Knight said that the goal is to have the pocket park completed this year.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $75,000 by Jan. 31, thereby winning a matching grant through the MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program, the process of completing the park could be speeded up. However, Knight anticipates being able to complete the project even if that goal is not met.

At press time, more than $51,000 had been raised as a result of the crowdfunding campaign.

Having an additional public gathering space, as well as Knight’s expectation that the park would lead to increased revenue for downtown businesses, could turn out to be a winning combination for Farmington.

“I think the impact will be felt immediately,” Knight said. “We anticipate immediate benefit this year. … Having a functional, accessible space downtown, like this pocket park, raises the bar for what we expect in our public spaces.”

From Knight’s perspective, the completion of the Enterprise Pocket Park would be the culmination of planning and vision that began for the proposed space on Farmington Road more than a decade ago.

“This is an opportunity to impact a lot of people in a very high-profile, easily accessible way, and the state of Michigan rewards that,” Knight said. “This is a business development story, and it’s a community development story, so we’re taking that opportunity to engage the public (and) get them excited about how downtown Farmington is changing, and that means a lot to MEDC. That means this project is important to Farmington.”

To donate or learn more details, visit patronicity.com/farmington.