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STREAM Students Help Develop Green Space Project

A new downtown green space is up for a $1,000 Love Your Hometown grant from the Allegan County Community Foundation. It’s up against one other project and the winner is determined by online votes. You can vote once per day per email address until March 31st. Vote at: polls.

Otsego Main Street has worked very hard to bring in new businesses and features to downtown Otsego, including an art garden several years ago. Now, they’re partnering with some of Otsego Middle School’s STREAM students, who spend their time learning outdoors, to help create a new green space. Main Street Director, Joel Saukas, said there was a plan on the table for a space, but he didn’t want to try and fill it himself. “I wanted input from kids, to see what they would want in there.”

He’s worked with Nathan Alkire, who teaches the STREAM School at OMS, and reached out to him for some kids to join the project. Megan Germain, Stephanie Scott and Haley Bowe, 7th graders, were pegged for the project. They were given a list of potential outdoor features and prices and picked out what they thought would be good for the space, “It’ll be a spot for friends to hang out or a family reunion,” they say. They are very excited to be a part of planning a new space for downtown and look forward to seeing it come to life.

The green space features picnic tables, hammocks, a spot for board games or books and of course flower gardens. This is meant to be a useable space, where people come and stay, and is also a beautification project. The green space is on the west side of the barber shop. It’s a small space, but a perfect space for a project like this. Instead of it sitting empty, it’ll add a new destination to downtown.

The additional $1,000 grant from the Love Your Hometown contest would make all they have planned become a reality. Main Street will likely create some sort of green space either way, but it won’t be to the extent that the students planned without the additional dollars.

Remember, you can vote once per day per email address until March 31st at http://polls.alleganfoundation.org/. The grant winners will be announced in April. Main Street is hoping to start on the green space project in May or June with students leading the way.

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