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Here’s how downtown Farmington’s Masons Corner will be transformed

 Here’s how downtown Farmington’s Masons Corner will be transformed

Rendering created by Grissim Metz Andriese Assoc.

After years in planning and development, the downtown gateway of Masons Corner in Farmington will be activated and completed to create a universally accessible public gathering space through the anticipated success of a new crowdfunding campaign.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the City of Farmington, and the Farmington Downtown Development Authority (DDA) announced the campaign today, which is being offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $75,000 by June 7th, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places (PSCP) program.

This project will be utilizing the PSCP program’s Universal Design and Accessibility Extension, which allows for an additional $25,000 in matching funds if the project meets the standards of Universal Design and Accessibility.

For project details and to donate,  visit: patronicity.com/masonscorner.

‘Universally accessible gathering space’

“Masons Corner will reestablish a historic town hall corner and create a universally accessible gathering space,” said MEDC Regional Prosperity Managing Director Paula Holtz. “We are pleased to support and provide resources for this project through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”

Located at the northwest corner of Farmington Road and Grand River in front of the 1876 Farmington Masonic Lodge, this space connects the two major streetscapes in the historic main intersection of downtown. The space is within Farmington’s Syndicate Social District and is a highly visible and natural gathering point in the community.

Kate Knight

Farmington’s bicentennial year is 2024 and this project will allow the city to celebrate that milestone by completing a project that has been a long-term priority as a part of its master plan.

This campaign will complete the space at Masons Corner with trees, green space, a sculptural swing, a fire feature, moveable outdoor furniture, low fencing at the street, and custom pavers to create universally accessible pedestrian access using the same and complimentary high-quality materials from both Grand River and Farmington Road streetscapes.

“The Public Spaces Community Places program enables our community to confidently close the funding gap as we build a long-planned public space in our downtown,” said Farmington DDA Executive Director Kate Knight.

“We launch this long-planned project in celebration of our bicentennial year, a gathering place that manifests, ‘Welcoming since 1824′. Incorporating inclusivity-first best design practices ensures that our Masons Corner, at the historic main intersection of Downtown Farmington, is ready to welcome all people for the next 200 years.”

Strong support from community

Knight also stated, “Farmington built the first universally accessible project through the PCSP UD Extension, with resounding support from more than 300 donors through our Patronicity campaign. The overwhelmingly positive response and the program incentive to consider accessible design make it a best-practice must for designing public space for users of all capacities. We build on that momentum with the strong support of our community, knowing that our recent work has shown that this grant program makes the difference with park users every day.”

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 MEDC. Communities, nonprofits and other business entities can apply at https://patronicity.com/puremichigan.

“This project is a great example of bringing historic and modern elements together for the benefit of a community,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and Executive Director of the Michigan Municipal League. “A historic area will now also include modern amenities and a universally accessible design to ensure that everyone can enjoy the space and have the opportunity to foster connections with those around them.”

The Public Spaces Community Places initiative started in 2014 with MEDC providing matched funding of up to $50,000 for community improvement projects throughout Michigan. As of April 1, 2024, MEDC has provided more than $12.4 million in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 373 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with more than $14 million raised from 68,634 individual donors. Communities have a 97 percent success rate in achieving their goals and earning matching funds.

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Ed Wright

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