Crowdfunding campaign launched for the Little Traverse Bay Ferry project

Thursday, June 11, 2020

$50,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative

LANSING, Mich. – The communities of Petoskey, Harbor Springs, and Bay Harbor will soon be connected by a water ferry thanks to a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Little Traverse bay Foundation announced today. The campaign is being offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by July 15, 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:

“Creating spaces for people to be more connected to their neighboring communities and waterways is a great example of placemaking,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Michele Wildman. “We are pleased to bring this project to life and provide resources for this effort through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”

Through this campaign, the Little Traverse Bay Foundation will be able to complete their plans to revive the long-forgotten Little Traverse Bay Ferry. The ferry will connect the Petoskey, Harbor Springs, and Bay Harbor communities on the water. The ferry will use the bay like a community space, offering plenty of special events, both for educational and entertainment purposes, and will serve as a welcome addition to the community.

Funding will specifically allow the completion of the final phases to complete the ferry project including a new ADA Compliant dock and supplementary landscaping in Ford Park of Harbor Springs, which will be gifted to the city. It will also support educational programming for the fall/spring ‘on water’ classroom programs for schools, and support additional safety equipment, and possible boarding area modifications required due to high water levels.

“It’s been over 60 years since Petoskey and Harbor Springs had water transportation supporting our lakeside communities – and, now we are pleased to bring that asset back, and now including Bay Harbor. We are excited to be approved for the MEDC Public Spaces, Community Places Grant Program assisting in our goal to improve our ‘gateways’ to board the Ferry. This crowd granting campaign provides us with the funding needed to complete a few important projects," said Little Traverse Bay Foundation Advisory Board Member Ami Klykken. “The ultimate goal is to have the financial support needed to keep the Ferry safe, affordable and available of all to enjoy for years to come.”

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

“Providing transportation that brings communities together in meaningful ways is key to great placemaking,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “The Little Traverse Bay Ferry will revive an old tradition and breathe new life into it with new and creative uses for residents and visitors of the communities it serves.”

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 June 8, MEDC has provided more than $7.4 million in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 240 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with $8.65 million raised from 43,759 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.