October 6 2017, Grand Haven, MI – Local volunteers and over 300 Grand Haven community members gathered on Friday night at the Tri-Cities YMCA to view the new play-space design for The Reimagine Project. The new play-space will take the place of the current Imagination Station, a 20,000 square foot play-space located in Mulligan’s Hollow, a Grand Haven landmark for over 27 years. The new play-space will draw many visitors and is estimated to cost $500,000. The Reimagine fundraising team is kicking off fundraising efforts this fall to raise the $500,000 goal.

The Big Reveal event offered a great opportunity for many of our local children to show the creative process they experience during Design Days, a three day event where over a 100 school children throughout the greater Grand Haven area researched, conceptualized, and created prototypes for the new play-space. A key part of their experience was to research how children with varying skill levels move and respond in play environments. At the Big Reveal many of these kids stood next to their models while being surrounded by sticky notes and storyboards that presented the creative process they had taken part in. Grand Haven Public School teachers, Andrew and Annie Ratke, facilitated the design process with the children. “This is a huge opportunity for child

ren in our community to put the design process into a real-world situation,” said Mr Ratke, “These young, creative minds worked so intently for three days to learn about accessibility, local themes, and how to work with a team with one specific goal in mind.”

Two designers and accessibility experts from Leathers and Associates evaluated the children’s prototypes during a presentation process on Friday morning. The two designers used the prototypes as the catalyst for the rendering created and presented on Friday night at the Big Reveal. “You did all the work,” said one of the Leather’s designers, “I hardly had to do anything.” The new design includes many of the concepts and designs presented by the children and includes a lighthouse and boat. The young play experts cheered as the Leathers team pointed out many of the features. The new play space will be created with accessibility in mind and built with the newest durable products.

At the Big Reveal, the fundraising goal of $500,000 was promoted and volunteer sign-up sheets were handed out. ‘’This will take everyone in our community to become a reality,” said Chris Streng, Co-chair of the project, “Unlike, a playground kit, this play-space will be built by hand by our community.” The new play-space will be built in the fall of 2018. It is estimated that as the project gears up for build week, there will be over 1,500 volunteers scheduled for build shifts. 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 or #reimagine.

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