Editor's note: This story is part of Southwest Michigan Second Wave's On the Ground Battle Creek series.
Organizers of an effort to develop a dog park at Bailey Park in Battle Creek are hoping to raise $30,000 by May 13 to qualify for a matching grant from the Michigan Department of Economic Development.
Close to $4,000 has been raised so far for the dog park, says Deb Fryar, president of Calhoun County Dog Parks and a resident of the Historic Northside Neighborhoods.
The remaining funds will be raised through a crowdfunding campaign which is being offered through Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity. If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal by the deadline, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program.
Public Spaces Community Places
is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League and Patronicity, through 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 here
In the last four years, Patronicity has funded 108 projects in Michigan, including dog parks located in Muskegon, Plainwell, and northern Michigan, Fryar says. Without the matching funds provided by the Public Spaces Community Places grant program, she says, “Battle Creek would not have the opportunity to see the completion of a dog park in 2019.”
Supporters are hoping to have funding in place so a park can be completed in 2019.
“There is a growing demand for safe spaces for people and dogs to interact across many communities,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Katharine Czarnecki. “This project will create such a space for the Calhoun County region. We are pleased to provide resources for this effort through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”
The matching grant opportunity comes one year after, Fryar began surveying residents to get their input on the need for a dog park and joined Neighborhood Planning Council 4 which includes her street.
“I had been taking my dogs to the closest dog park which is in Galesburg,” she says. “I was doing it three days a week all winter and thinking that it would be really nice to have a dog park here.
“We looked at some other grant opportunities, but it was determined that this wasn’t the right thing to use it for. One of the members of NPC 4 (Historic Northside) said he’d heard about Patronicity.”
The dog park, which will be located on a 1 1/2-acre parcel of unused land at Bailey Park, is expected to cost about $55,000, which would cover the cost of fencing, on-site water to hose the dogs off, cement pads, double gating, water fountains, and benches, among other things.
An analysis conducted earlier by the City of Battle Creek’s Parks Department determined that Bailey Park would be the best site for the dog park. Duska Brumm, director of the Parks Department, said that members of the Department of Public Works Department used a Dog Park Site Selection Scoring Sheet to make that determination.
The size of the parcel of land required and accessible water sources are among the criteria taken into consideration in that site selection scoring sheet.
City officials have said that access to a dog park is high on the list of amenities people look for when looking for a place to live.
“Creating desirable public amenities is key to great placemaking,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of Michigan Municipal League. “Activating part of Bailey Park with a fun space for dogs and their owners will give residents one more way to enjoy their community.”
Fryar says donations may be made by going to the Patronicity website
. Those who prefer to give by cash or check are asked to please make donations out to Encourage BC! - Dog Park. You can drop donations off at the Battle Creek Community Foundation at 32 Michigan Ave #1, Battle Creek, MI 49017 or mail to Dog Park at 65 Orchard Place, Battle Creek, MI 49017. If you have questions or concerns please send them to Debby Fryar at firstname.lastname@example.org
A video about the project can be found here.