It started off as just something that sounded like a fun idea for Hartland resident Karen Wisinski. Coming up with a community improvement project that was designed to promote community togetherness.
The Hartland mom of two says she has always had an interest in community planning and during her research, came across a contest from the organization, "Let's Save Michigan," that asked communities to send in their ideas on how to make their towns better.
Submitting a plan that several local moms helped put together, the design is now in the running to potentially win money that would create a community-focused gathering place within Hartland.
The plan targets a small area in the , a building which houses several community programs including the Senior Center, the alternative high school and the community gymnastics program. The plan is to create a “happy place” that would benefit the whole community.
“We really were seeing it as a place for everyone who comes into the building for all the various activities to interact and promote more of the feeling of community,” Wisinski said. “We decided to just try and make that area of the building more inviting and try to entice people to stick around and gather and interact.”
Approaching Hartland Community Education director Michelle Otis with the idea, Wisinski learned that plans were already in place to help develop a comfortable space for the community including tables and Wi-Fi internet.
“My goal is actually to have a place within this building that is the meeting spot,” Otis said. “We really wanted to make a spot where people are hanging out. That’s the environment that we’re hoping to create in there.”
Wisinski calls it a “simple plan” that involves new bright paint in the area, a poetry wall, artwork and cabinets full of games. She is hoping to win $500 from the contest that would help set the foundation for the gathering place.
Supporting Wisinski’s idea, Otis is asking the community to vote for the project and help make the idea come to life.
“I would love their support to make this happen in our building,” Otis said. “I think a lot of people come here -- from the senior center to the students to our gym parents, so it would just be really awesome to have that added addition here.”
Otis says that even if they don't win the grant, Community Ed will still go ahead with providing a space for the community. The money from the grant, however, will be able to provide more of the inviting atmosphere and fun activities.
There are currently 46 other entries and voting takes place until June 1. The projects that make it into the top 10 will be considered for a monetary endorsement.
Voters are only required to enter their email address and can vote once every 24 hours.