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Press Release


Kathy Achtenberg, MEDC
(517) 335-4590

Brandt Rousseaux, Treasurer
Port Austin Lions Club
(989) 738-0274

Matt Bach
Director of Media Relations
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317; C: (810) 874-1073;


Crowdfunding Campaign Launched for the Port Austin Butterfly House and Community Gardens Project

$15,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places initiative


Lansing, Mich. – The village of Port Austin will soon have a butterfly house and community gardens with the help of a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Port Austin’s Lions Club announced today. The campaign is being offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $15,000 by May 17, 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:

“The Butterfly House and Community Gardens represent not only a space for communal engagement and recreation but will also transform a vacant space into a vibrant destination in Port Austin,” said MEDC Vice President of Community Development Katharine Czarnecki. “We are pleased to be able to provide resources for this educational outdoor experience.”

Funding raised during this campaign will support the transformation of a vacant lot into a village asset for Port Austin. Visitors will enjoy a tranquil space to reflect while also learning about the life cycle of several species of Michigan butterflies, watching them feed, mate, and transform before their very eyes. At the end of the season the butterflies will be released into the wild to begin their annual migration south. This project will spark positive tourism to the area and provide economic benefit to the Upper Thumb area of the state. 

"Port Austin has a lot of wonderful parks and outdoor activities for the community and visitors to enjoy,” said Vice President of the Port Austin Lions Club Stephen Schmidt. “With the support and efforts of the MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program, the Butterfly House and Gardens will turn an underutilized park into a unique gathering place and attraction to draw additional visitors to the area.”

Public Spaces Community Places is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, MSHDA, 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 strongly believes in the concept of placemaking and creating places and spaces people will love,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and Executive Director of the Michigan Municipal. “It’s especially exciting to see projects like this in Port Austin where they, with the public’s support, will take a vacant lot and transform it into something that people will enjoy for years to come.”

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 April 2, 2017, MEDC has provided $3,475,500 in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 107 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with nearly $4.2 million raised from 18,474 individual donors.

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 and talent 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 Visit Pure Michigan Talent Connect at for more information on Michigan’s online marketplace for connecting job seekers and employers. Join the conversation on: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.

For additional information, contact Matt Bach, director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League, at and (810) 874-1073.

Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at





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