Crowdfunding Campaign Launched for the Great Turtle Park Pickleball Courts on Mackinac Island

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

$50,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative

LANSING, Mich. – An unutilized portion of Great Turtle Park on Mackinac Island will be transformed into two regulation-sized pickleball courts through the anticipated success of a crowdfunding campaign. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), and the City of Mackinac Island announced the campaign today, which is being offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.


Photo courtesy of Joshua Robertson

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by September 26, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program. For project details and to donate, please visit:

“Pickleball is a unique, recreational activity that brings together community members from multiple generations around the love of this easygoing and inclusive sport, while also improving their health and well-being,” said MEDC Regional Prosperity Managing Director Paula Holtz. “We are pleased to support and provide resources for this project through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”

Mackinac Island possesses the ideal demographics for pickleball, including a vibrant aging population, energetic children and teenagers seeking summer activities, and a sizable young adult and working population yearning for alternative recreational options beyond the local bar scene. Additionally, surveys conducted by the Mackinac Island Recreation Department indicated a clear demand for these activities, with a specific interest expressed in pickleball.

The City of Mackinac Island Recreation Department has partnered with some devoted local pickleballers to create two new publicly accessible pickleball courts on Mackinac Island. Living on an island presents a unique challenge, as residents and workers of Mackinac Island don't have the option to travel to neighboring communities for facilities. The solution to this problem is the creation of these new public courts.

“Our community may be small, but we face the challenge of serving a population that significantly grows during the peak season. As a result, a dedicated few often find themselves tasked with multiple fundraising efforts throughout the year,” said Fund Committee Chairperson Kelly Rayment. “However, thanks to the Public Spaces Community Places program by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, even our smaller donors can actively contribute and feel connected to our campaign while playing an essential role in helping us reach our goal.”

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. Communities, nonprofits and other business entities can apply at

”The Michigan Municipal League is a firm supporter of placemaking projects happening throughout our state,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and Executive Director of the League. “These pickleball courts will have a positive impact on the Mackinac Island area for generations to come, which is what placemaking is truly all about.”

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 June 30, 2023, MEDC has provided more than $11.6 million in matching grants. Since the program's launch, 353 projects have successfully reached their goal, with more than $13.3 million raised from 66,520 individual donors. Communities have a 97 percent success rate in achieving their goals and earning matching funds.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.