Shelby’s wish granted by Electric Forest.

July 15, 2019

Volunteers Alex Katt, Kim Chatfield, Ed Chatfield and Greg Macintosh.

Shelby’s wish granted by Electric Forest.

SHELBY – Electric Forest’s Wish Machine, launched in 2018, challenges the forest family to venture out into the world and spread positive action and good deeds. From local communities in Michigan to as far away as Tanzania and Cambodia, the forest family considered what they could do – for individuals, neighborhoods, communities, and societies – to help make the world a better place.

Pledges included raising money and awareness for mental health, rare diseases and sustainable efforts – donating clothing, personal items, and funds to charity drives and disaster clean-up efforts, as well as volunteering time and resources to local humane societies, hospitals, and homeless shelters, and so much more. The forest rewards the most amazing, and awe-inspiring acts of kindness.

Thousands submit wishes into the Wish Machine asking the forest to support them and grant their wildest dreams at Electric Forest. In its first year, the Wish Machine granted 16 wishes. Everything from MP3 distribution to those without music in their lives, to water filters in Cambodia.

For Electric Forest 2019, seven wishes were granted, including one from Oceana County.

Siegel

A Shelby native, Danielle Siegel, is the first community member to have a wish granted. This year, she and a group of volunteers donated time in their community, and in return, Electric Forest gave them each a day pass to the gigantic music festival held at the end of June each year at the Double JJ Resort in Rothbury.

Siegel, a graduate of Shelby High School and Grand Valley State University, is an AmeriCorps/VISTA member who coordinates youth and education programming hosted by the Community Foundation for Oceana County.

With her ties to Shelby, Siegel was aware of an upcoming effort to restore and revitalize a downtown alleyway and saw this as the perfect chance to jumpstart the project.

Shelby is a rural farming community that has a unique asset – the recently updated and well-traveled multi-use William Field Memorial Hart-Montague Trail that runs directly behind its downtown storefronts. Today, it is estimated by the DNR that approximately 65,000 visitors a year ride the trail, which connects to the Fred Meijer Berry Junction Trail and continues for another 11.1 miles beyond to Muskegon.

There is no inviting path from the trail to downtown Shelby restaurants, shops and businesses. However, there is an alleyway that would make a great connection point from the trail to downtown. Yet, it’s not in good condition. The walkway is cracked and broken, full of trip hazards; the lights are broken and in need of replacing; and the once vibrant murals along the walls have long faded away.

With a few simple improvements, such as resurfacing, landscaping, painting, lighting and art-inspired bike racks, the alleyway can be restored into a beautiful destination that attracts trail users off the trail to enjoy downtown Shelby with its rural character and charm. The village allocated $10,000 for refurbishment, and a volunteer group was ready to tackle some of the preliminary work.

Siegel worked alongside Department of Public works supervisor Greg Macintosh to coordinate the community service project. Five volunteers came out last month to support the cause and were each awarded with entrance into the festival. Volunteers spanned from local parents who had never experienced the forest, to a retired department of public works member, and locals who consistently come out to support their community.

The small, but mighty volunteer group primed and painted the alleyway, prepping it for what will one day be a gorgeous mural in downtown Shelby. The group looks forward to seeing a vibrant, safe, and welcoming path from the pavilion and bike trail, to the downtown storefronts.

Don’t forget to check out the alleyway when you’re in town, and to learn more about the Wish Machine and projects granted, visit Wish Machine.

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