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'We are ecstatic and grateful…’

The Antrim Review of Bellaire, Michigan

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Crowdfunding campaign a success, work begins on Community Square

ELLSWORTH — Immediately after an online fundraising campaign successfully met its goal, work began to create a new Community Square last week in the village of Ellsworth.

The "Crowdfunding" campaign, a community fundraising program of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), was launched on July 26 and concluded Aug. 31 with a goal of collecting $26,000 in donations to create the Community Square project. The Campaign closed with $28,595 in donations pledged, which will be matched equally by the MEDC.

The matching funds are made available through the MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places initiative.

Ninety people contributed various sums of money to help make the campaign a success, according to Ellsworth Village Council President Hugh Campbell.

"The village was encouraged by the number of donors who supported the project," Campbell said.

A total of $67,000 was needed to demolish the remains of a former garage that burned in 2012 and complete the initial cleanup, which included removal of all debris, the addition of fencing and seeding of the property with grass seed.

An initial $15,000 was donated by Banks Township and the Village of Ellsworth prior to the Crowd-funding kick-off. The demolition and cleanup of the downtown corner lot next to the Banks Township Hall was completed by the end of last week.

All funds raised above the needed $67,000 will go toward Phase Two of the project, which will include a gazebo and public restrooms, according to Campbell.

"We are ecstatic and grateful for the community's support," said village trustee Lynn Aldrich Spearing. "It is simply one more example of the phenomenal kind of community we are. What a great community Ellsworth is."

The village hopes to have the new Community Square finished by 2017.

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Original Publication Date: September 10, 2015

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