On September 23, 2019 in Three Rivers, Michigan, the St. Joseph County Commission on Aging announced that it will attempt to transform the abandoned Three Rivers Inn into a senior enrichment center and public park via a new crowdfunding campaign.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation and St. Joseph County partnered with the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity to make this happen.
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.
“Providing a supportive, engaging environment for people of all ages is key to great placemaking,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “This enrichment center will go a long way toward enhancing the lives of the more mature members of the community.”
This is a transformational project for the Three Rivers community. This once blighted property will now serve seniors and the greater community for generations to come. The Enrichment Center will play a vital role in increasing social connections of area seniors, increasing opportunities for physical activity, and promoting healthy behaviors that prolong independence and mobility. Additionally, the surrounding area will see economic benefits from the restored community asset.
“Gathering spaces that encourage multi-generational connection need to be highlighted and supported and the Three Rivers COA Enrichment Center will do just that,” said MEDC Director of Community Development Incentives Lori Mullins. “We are pleased to provide resources for this effort through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”
Funding raised in this campaign is for the last $100,000 needed to revitalize the Three Rivers Inn. Funds from this campaign will be used to develop walking paths and landscaping, install outdoor fitness stations, build a gazebo, purchase park benches, and resurface a multi-use activity court for sports such as pickleball. The campaign also includes an indoor component, turning the old “holidome” area of the hotel into a public gathering place complete with a water feature and seating.
“The Rivers Enrichment Center and Residence will have a significant impact on our senior community. This combination of a senior center and senior residence will greatly improve quality of life for St. Joseph County senior citizens,” said Tim Still, executive director of the St. Joseph County Commission.
“The Commission on Aging is committed to creating a healthy community of senior citizens by offering wellness and fitness opportunities and engaging programs. Our new building and outdoor space take this to a level unrivaled in our state by providing these programs within a senior living environment. We’re proud to have such a unique setting right here in St. Joseph County,” he added.
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 September 23, 2019, MEDC has provided $6,945,196 in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 230 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with $8.1 million raised from 42,058 individual donors.
Images courtesy of MEDC.