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Grant, crowdfunding to pay for Oswalt Park redo

Vicksburg plans to redo little Oswalt Park at the northwest corner of Prairie and Main with more seating, family-friendly game spaces and a heating element for cool weather, financed via a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and a matching crowdfunding program.

The MEDC will provide the $50,000 grant if the crowdfunding campaign raises a matching amount by Oct. 8, the MEDC and the village said in a joint press release. The fundraising campaign will use a Michigan-based crowdfunding site, Patronicity, via the link patronicity.com/oswalt.

The MEDC’s Michele Wildman, senior vice president for community development, said the campaign “will ensure that an underused public space is activated and updated for a variety of community uses well into the future.”

The press release also notes that the design will “enhance the Village’s newly established social district.”

The village last year applied for and won a social district designation for part of the downtown area from the state Liquor Control Commission. It permits patrons at five downtown liquor-licensed businesses to carry beverages in designated containers among participating restaurants. Oswalt Park, surrounded on three sides by live music, art activities and the village’s downtown shops as well as the restaurants, is included in the district.

“Opportunities like the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Public Spaces Community Places grant match program are a lifeline to small communities such as ours,” said the village’ council president, Tim Frisbie. “Thinking big just becomes bigger with programs like this and growing into these types of dreams are essential to life in Vicksburg growing into a visionary future.”

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