Crowdfunding Campaign Launched for “The Electric City Project” in Sturgis

Kathleen Achtenberg, MEDC
[email protected]

Jeff Coney
Community Development Specialist
[email protected]


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

Mockup of a nighttime scene depicting a proposed public space. There is a mural on a building in the background that says,

Image credit: Heidi Wolfe from Wolfe Makes Art

LANSING, Mich. – The City of Sturgis will be activating several new public spaces in Downtown Sturgis and honoring its history as the Electric City through the anticipated success of a crowdfunding campaign. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Sturgis Downtown Development Authority announced the campaign today, which is being offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

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

“The Electric City Project will establish a lasting identity for Sturgis and create several gathering spaces within the downtown corridor,” 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 City of Sturgis has proudly held the moniker of “Electric City” since 1896, owing to the establishment of its municipally owned and operated electric utility. This designation acquired greater significance in 1911 with the commencement of operations at the hydroelectric dam, ensuring a sustainable and reliable power supply. This pivotal infrastructure underscored the community’s self-reliance, fostering its growth and prosperity over the ensuing years.

The DDA consulted with the community and concluded that Sturgis needs to take hold of this historic name while activating more space to draw people to its incredible downtown. This resulted in the Electric City Project, which will include downtown lighting, a new food truck park, the creation of Electric Alley, and the completion of an interactive website for the DDA and public use. This project will help the public form an understanding of Sturgis’ rich history and draw more interest to the downtown community and local businesses.

“The goal of the DDA has always been to amplify the vibrancy and business activity in our downtown. Lighting the skyline of our downtown buildings has been a vision for years, but without the necessary financial backing, the idea remained dormant,” said Melvin Camburn, Sturgis DDA Chairperson. “Over the past 18 months, DDA board members passionately engaged building and business owners, reigniting excitement and support to bring this project to life.”

“We recognized that some buildings couldn’t financially support the project on their own, which is where the Public Spaces Community Places match grant became our saving grace,” said Andrew Kuk, Sturgis City Manager. “This generous $50K grant bridges the gap for buildings needing extra support. Additionally, we incorporated the Food Truck and Electric Alley to add a dynamic placemaking element, ensuring the city activates more than just the skyline with this project.”

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

“From new lighting to a new food truck park, these improvements to Sturgis’ downtown will help members from the community and beyond to come together and connect,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and Executive Director of the Michigan Municipal League. “This is just one example of what is possible when supporting downtowns and local businesses are a priority. These are the projects our municipalities need as we work to create thriving communities.”

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 26, 2024, MEDC has provided more than $12.9 million in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 381 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with more than $14.7 million raised from 71,086 individual donors. Communities have a 97 percent success rate in achieving their goals and earning 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.

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