Crowdfunding campaign launched for the ‘Ray Leverton Memorial Playground’ in Ishpeming

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

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

Rendering courtesy of Miracle Playground

LANSING, Mich. – The City of Ishpeming is partnering with the local Kiwanis Club to fund a playground project at Lake Bancroft Park through a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and city of Ishpeming 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 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 play and wellness while also providing opportunities for public gathering and honoring a local legacy is what this program is all about,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Michele Wildman. “We are pleased to support and provide resources for this project through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”

The Kiwanis Club of Ishpeming, in partnership with the city of Ishpeming and other local organizations, believes in the health of the whole child. Creating a play structure at Lake Bancroft Park near the Mining Heritage Pavilion will provide families with a great place for their children to play while they enjoy Lake Bancroft Park together.

The play structure will be named in honor of one of Ishpeming’s great citizens, Ray Leverton. Ray devoted countless hours to serving his community and its children. The Kiwanis Club is honoring his memory by designating this space the Kiwanis Club of Ishpeming – Ray Leverton Memorial Playground.

This project will enhance opportunities within the city around a common site where children can play, and parents can meet and connect. Play structures help children develop mentally by engaging their motor skills and providing them with a variety of sensory experiences. This site is located near the Mining Heritage Pavilion, Cliff's Shaft and Mining Museum, Lake Bancroft and a Memorial Park. This structure will provide a wonderful and well-connected addition to the site that will bring families together.

“The Kiwanis Club of Ishpeming has been involved with community projects on the west end of Marquette County for over 50 years and we are excited to partner with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Patronicity on one of our largest and most visible projects yet,” said Anthony Bertucci, President of the Kiwanis Club of Ishpeming. “We hope that by leveraging the dollar-for-dollar match of MEDC, our project will soon become a reality. Ishpeming is seeing a lot younger families move into town and this playground and Lake Bancroft Park will play an important part in Ishpeming’s revitalization.”

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

“The Michigan Municipal League is a firm believer in building community wealth in ways that enhance the human experience for everyone,” said Dan Gilmartin, the League’s CEO and Executive Director. “Creating a new park in Ishpeming with the cooperation of the local Kiwanis Club does just that. With the support of the Ishpeming-area community, this effort will improve the human experience for everyone for years to come. That is what community wealth building is about.”

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 Feb. 28, 2022, MEDC has provided more than $9.8 million in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 302 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with $11.2 million raised from 51,922 individual donors. Communities have a 97 percent success rate in achieving their goals and earning our matching funds.

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.