Sept 21, 2017, Grand Haven, MI – Local volunteers are setting out to build a play-space for the community. Imagination Station is celebrating its 27th year. It has been well loved and played on by thousands of children throughout our community. Now it’s time to reinvent, recreate, refund, and rebuild a play-space that meets the needs of a new generation of kids. The new play space will be created with accessibility in mind and built with the newest durable products. The new play-space will draw many visitors with over 20,000 square feet of play space and is estimated to cost $500,000. The Reimagine fundraising team will be seeking grants, working with local businesses and reaching out to personal donors this fall.

The Reimagine Project is in its preliminary stages. This summer a group of community leaders met with some of the original  volunteers from 1990, to learn about the process of creating, volunteering, and funding the project. The 1990 Imagination Station project was lead by Wendy Creason, long term Grand Haven community volunteer and visionary.  The prior volunteers worked with a well-seasoned play-space builder, Leathers & Associates, and, again, the Reimagine Project team will be working with them. The Reimagine Play-space Project will be created with accessibility in mind, imagined by over a 100 local school children, and will be built entirely by our community.

Play is a child’s work. And, this is why the first event called ‘Design Days’ will be with kids, for kids, and by kids. Children throughout the local community will gather in early October with two designers and accessibility experts from Leathers and Associates to research, explore, create, design, and present preliminary designs for the new Imagination Station. The kids will research how other children with varying skill levels move and respond in play environments. Grand Haven Public School teachers, Andrew and Annie Ratke, will help facilitate the design process with the children. “This is a huge opportunity for children in our community to put the design process into a real-world situation,” said Mr Ratke, “I can’t wait to see how the kids work with each other, research, brainstorm, and create the next Imagination Station. It’s Imagination Station 2.0.”

Design Days will end with the Big Reveal, Friday, October 6th at 6:00pm at the Tri-Cities YMCA. The event is open to the community to celebrate and see the kids design concepts and preliminary designs presented by our expert designers from Leathers and Associates. “I can’t wait to see what the kids in our community create. With unlimited creativity, I am certain that our young designers will inspire our community and motivate volunteers and donors as we prepare for building the new play-space in 2018,” says Kristi Streng, co-chair of the Reimagine Project steering committee.

The new play-space will be built in the fall of 2018. This is not a small undertaking. It is estimated that as the project gears up for build week, we will need to have raised $500,000, there will be over 1,500 volunteers scheduled for build shifts, hundreds of meals a day served for the volunteers, and a football field worth of products and tools. This is far more than building a state of the art, accessible play-space, it’s building a community.  This project offers great opportunities for anyone to be involved in the cause. To learn more, visit gh-reimagine.org.

Imagined by Kids, Accessible to All, Funded by Community, Built by Volunteers

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