Crowdfunding Campaign Launched for “Bark River Park Project” in the U.P.

Kathleen Achtenberg, MEDC
[email protected]

Kelly Hanson
Heart of the North Lions Club of Delta & Menominee County 
[email protected]                                                                                                                       


$46,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative

LANSING, Mich. – A new inclusive playscape will be created at the Bark River Township Park and a downtown park will be become safe and accessible through the anticipated success of a crowdfunding campaign. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Heart of the North Lions Club of Delta & Menominee County announced the campaign today, which is being offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $46,000 by July 12th, 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:

“This project will ensure that the region has access to inclusive play spaces and create a gathering space for all to enjoy,” said MEDC Regional Prosperity Managing Director Paula Holtz. “We are pleased to support and provide resources for this project through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”

The Heart of the North Lions Club of Delta & Menominee County started this effort to upgrade the local parks, but they soon realized that there was a real need for inclusive equipment in the region. The Bark River Lions Club and the Bark River Township became supportive partners on this project to create a wonderful inclusive playground that will serve all children to encourage collective outside play in the beautiful U.P. of Michigan.

This campaign will complete a two-year effort and create a new space as well as upgrade an older, unsafe park downtown. The new township park will have a state-of-the-art play space that includes inclusive play structures/equipment, accessible surfacing, accessible pathways, new benches, signage, and accessible parking. All the above is taking place at the Bark River Township Main Park, and it will be adjacent to the existing large wooden play structure.

The second part of this project will allow for the activation of a small downtown park which will have older, unsafe equipment removed, two pieces renovated, and two more playground pieces brought in along with new fencing. These efforts will ensure that the parks in Bark River are safe, used, and loved for generations to come.

Incoming Secretary for the Heart of the North Lions Club of Delta & Menominee County Kelly Hanson said, “With the MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places Grant, we will be able to complete both park projects in town: the inclusive playground at the Bark River Township Park and the renovations and improvements at the Bark River Downtown Park (located on US 2 & 41). This project is so exciting because it will be encouraging our youth to be outside to play and it gives our disabled children a wonderful opportunity to be out on the playground also. We are creating a wonderful space in two locations in our community for families to come together and enjoy our beautiful Upper Peninsula.”

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

“Belonging is essential to create thriving communities across our state,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and Executive Director of the Michigan Municipal League. “This playscape will provide a safe and accessible place for children and families to come together. This project’s commitment to inclusion ensures that every child can take part and enjoy what the park has to offer.”

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, 2024, MEDC has provided more than $12.5 million in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 377 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with more than $14.5 million raised from 70,284 individual donors. Communities have a 97 percent success rate in achieving their goals and earning matching funds.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
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