Planned Enrichment Center to complement community gardens in Eden Gardens neighborhood

What’s happening: Nonprofit community development organization Eden Gardens Community Association is looking to bolster the work that’s being done in its community gardens with the construction of the Eden Gardens Enrichment Center, a learning and community center for area children and young people. They’re hoping a successful crowdfunding campaign will lead to a matching grant that will enable them to do just that.

Who they are: The Eden Gardens Community Association (EDGA) acts on behalf of the Eden Gardens neighborhood, an eastside community located northeast of Coleman A. Young International Airport. Making use of vacant lots just six blocks north of the airport, their community garden was built in 2013. It continues to serve the neighborhood in myriad ways, offering fresh produce, learning opportunities, community gathering space, and more.

What’s planned: The EDGA is renovating an old two-story house adjacent to the community garden with plans to turn it into a neighborhood Enrichment Center. Planned improvements include community rooms for counseling, math, science, and yoga; renovations of the bathroom, walls, insulation, and flooring; the addition of an accessible ramp; and a basement space for local teenagers, complete with billiards, table tennis, and a studio for the arts. There will be entrepreneurship, math, reading, and science classes; trauma counseling for children and adults; community meetings; and free breakfast, lunch, and gardening and cooking programs.

How they’ll do it: The Eden Gardens Enrichment Center has been accepted into the Public Spaces Community Places program, the placemaking initiative from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Should the EDGA successfully raise $50,000 via a crowdfunding campaign hosted on the Michigan-based Patronicity platform, the MEDC will contribute an additional $50,000 to the project by way of a matching grant.

Organizers have until Sunday, Jan. 1, to successfully raise the funds, the status of which can be viewed online.

Why it’s important: “The PSCP grant will help build and provide a community learning center to enrich the minds of children, adults and returning citizens who lack the skills needed to prepare themselves to be successful in life,” says Karen Knox, Eden Gardens Executive Director.

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.