Crowdfunding Campaign Launched for the Discovery Pavilion at Rabbit River Preserve Project

Stefanie Pohl

Monday, March 25, 2024

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

Architectural Drawing by Lucid Architecture


LANSING, Mich. – The ODC Network, a local West Michigan-based nonprofit with a mission to advance outdoor education and conservation, acquired the beautiful, 65-acre Rabbit River preserve in 2017. Since then they have worked to develop the space into a place for community gathering, and through the anticipated success of a new crowdfunding campaign they will create an indoor pavilion for year-round use and education, as well as completing a new picnic shelter, bathrooms, and accessible parking. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the ODC Network announced the campaign today, which is being offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.  

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by May 25th, 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:

“This project will add amenities and shelter to a beautiful recreation space that is currently lacking in both,” 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.” 

To better serve the greater Hamilton community and visitors to the area, ODC is planning on building a Discovery Pavilion which will also include the completion of an accessible walkway, a covered picnic area, a restroom facility, a kitchenette, accessible parking, and a bus loop. The new amenities will allow this site to be an accessible field trip destination for local schools, while providing a space for families, churches, and other organizations to gather. 

“Adding a Discovery Pavilion to the Rabbit River Preserve aligns with ODC's vision to build a better community by connecting people, land, and nature,” said Travis Williams, CEO of the ODC Network. “This tranquil preserve along the river is already visited by thousands of people each year, and the new pavilion will add necessary amenities to the site and create a gathering space that will be a long-term asset for the community. We're grateful for MEDC's partnership to secure the final funds needed.”  

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

“This project’s additions to the Rabbit River Preserve will allow for more usage of the area, including during the colder months and poor weather,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and Executive Director of the Michigan Municipal League. “Additionally, these new amenities will attract more visitors, allow for more kinds of events to take place, and make the preserve a destination. This will greatly benefit the community and all who come to enjoy what the preserve has to offer.” 

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 March 19, 2024, MEDC has provided more than $12.4 million in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 370 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with more than $14 million raised from 68,467 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.