Elkenburg Park Community Build

Community: City of South Haven
Population: 2,500-9,999

sisThe South Haven community came together in May 2014 for a “community build” project in Elkenburg Park. A total of 77 volunteers logged over 392 hours in two days to make improvements in Phase II of the project. Volunteers took on the task of renovating and expanding the park’s small playground. The preliminary plans began two years prior during a Fun Fair with local students who were asked to list the items they would like to see within the park. Their suggestions were then used to develop the final plans. Abonmarche staff initiated the community build for the playground’s structure. Volunteers came from companies, churches, hospital, residents, and city departments, and worked tirelessly as a true show of teamwork – emphasizing the focus of the community coming together to make this a community build. Phase I included ADA accessible restrooms and new basketball courts. The park is a project of community pride.


The Elkenburg Park community build began as a grass roots project. From the start, the community was involved by engaging the children for input of the park design. An Elkenburg Park Redevelopment Committee was formed, which served as the liaison in the city process. The Parks Commission held open meetings inviting the public to provide their input. Community involvement was key throughout the process. Once approved, volunteers were sought and plans were organized. When the day arrived for the community build, steps were in place for a smooth process. The community was organized and prepared, making this an easy project to replicate in the future.

Creativity and Originality:

A Fun Fair with local students was organized at the end of the 2012 school year. The students were given chalk and asked to draw or list the items they would like to see within the park. Their suggestions were then used to develop the final plans. An organizer of the build awarded creative prizes for volunteer work. The awards showed volunteers they were appreciated. Some of the awards were: “SAVE THE DAY" Award for providing alternative play activities for the youth while the cement was curing; “ALL HANDS ON DECK” Award for the company bringing the most volunteers; “BIG BEN” Award for having the most logged volunteer hours; “MAMA MIA" Award for providing snacks and drinks; “PAUL BUNYAN” Award for bringing brains and brawn to the project.

Community Impact:

Many community members have stated that the community build project resulted in one of the biggest bonding experiences around the city. Community members feel very pleased they had a part in making it happen. A true sense of pride is felt. The organizers feel the community build was a really fun way to promote Elkenburg Park.

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Project Multimedia:

Project PowerPoint - Elkenburg Park Community Build