Crowdfunding campaign launched for Ruff & Tumble Dog Park in Niles

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

$35,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative

LANSING, Mich. – A vacant portion of a city park in Niles will be transformed into a family-friendly riverside dog park through a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Ruff & Tumble Dog Park announced today. The campaign is being offered through Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.          

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $35,000 by July 31, 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:

“Public Spaces Community Places is a good resource for communities to restore and activate public spaces,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Katharine Czarnecki. “We are pleased to be able to partner in this effort to transform an underused lot into a community space for residents and their four-legged friends.”

The plans for a dog park have been on the city of Niles’ drawing board for the past 10 years. Niles city council recently voted unanimously to set aside space for the park in an underutilized and run-down city park on Bond Street near the Riverfront Trail.  

The campaign will fence 1.5 acres with separate areas for small and large dogs, provide adequate benches for less rambunctious people to rest, install a watering station and agility equipment, provide waste stations, and install signage that will clearly state the conditions upon which people agree to enjoy the park. The funding will also provide for the maintenance and programming of the space including a bulletin board with that will link people with other pet services and news in the community.The Ruff & Tumble Dog Park will provide a safe, family-friendly environment to the city as a whole.

“Ruff & Tumble Dog Park is very thankful to the city of Niles for providing us a beautiful space on the St. Joseph River and to the MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program for believing in, and financially backing, our mission of providing a safe, family-friendly environment to the city as a whole,” said Ruff & Tumble Dog Park Director Katrina Andrews. “These type of places are made possible by the vision of people who care about our communities and work to make a difference. The Public Spaces Community Places program is a wonderful program that enriches the lives of so many. In fact, it is only because of this program that we are able to afford to build this dog park.”

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

“Niles’ re-envisioning of an underused park will add an energetic placemaking element to this part of the city,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “It will encourage people and their pets to socialize and become more ingrained in their community.

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 May 24, 2018, MEDC has provided $4.9 million in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 165 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with $5.8 million raised from 30,134 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 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.