Downtown Milwaukee Dog Park wins $25,000 Bark for Your Park™ grant

PetSafe® Brand, a global leader in pet product solutions, announced on September 2, 2021 that Milwaukee is one of five communities to be awarded a $25,000 Bark for Your Park™ grant to help build a new dog park located between Plankinton Avenue and the Milwaukee River at Clybourn Street.

Project organizers are looking to raise an estimated $750,000 through donations and sponsorships to bring the dog park to fruition. Donation categories on the project’s website,, vary widely to allow for all levels of support, with dog park swag and on-site donor recognition accompanying some of the categories. Donations greater than $2,500 can be coordinated directly through Milwaukee Downtown, Inc. All donations will support the pre-development, construction, maintenance and operations of the downtown dog park.

“We’re thrilled to be a Bark for Your Park™ grant winner,” said Matt Dorner, economic development director for Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21. “Thank you to the community for their outpouring of support and further validating the merits of this much-needed project. The grant is a big boost to our fundraiser effort; however, there’s still more work to be done.”

The proposed dog park site, between Plankinton Avenue and the Milwaukee River at Clybourn Street, will be transformed into a dynamic, 12,000-square-foot dog run with a publicly accessible Riverwalk extension. Proposed features of the park will include separated small and large dog areas, synthetic turf with irrigation to ensure cleanliness, decorative fencing, water stations, agility stations, public art, and opportunities for community programming and donor recognition. The project is being led by Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, Historic Third Ward BID #2, Downtown Neighbors Association (DNA) and other partners.

The Bark for Your Park™ grant contest launched in early May, and entries to build a new park or provide a makeover to an existing park were gathered from across the country. Following the submission period, 30 finalists were advanced to participate in the contest voting period from August 3-31, and more than 62,000 people voted to support their favorite finalist community.

Participants entered to win funds for either a new park or to improve an existing dog park. Finalists were chosen on the level of enthusiasm and support for a dog park project within the community and the impact that a dog park project will have on the community. The five communities with the most votes pursuing a new park will receive $25,000 each, and the five communities with the most votes pursuing improvements to an existing local park will be awarded $5,000 each.

The following ten communities will receive funding for their dog park project:

New Parks:

  • Binghamton, NY
  • Carbondale, IL
  • Creston, IA
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Newport, NH

Existing Parks:

  • Fenton, MI
  • Horsham, PA
  • Hudson, NY
  • Lihue, HI
  • Tyler, TX

"We've seen an outpouring of support throughout our grant contest this year, and it has been fun to follow along as community members pursue a space where dogs are welcome," says Celeste Vlok, marketing manager for PetSafe® brand. "PetSafe® is committed to creating safe, off-leash areas for pets and pet parents to enjoy for years to come, and we wanted the final decision to be made by the people using those parks each day. Congratulations to all winners!"

Since 2011, PetSafe® has donated more than $1.5 million to support more than 70 off-leash dog parks in the United States. For 2022 PetSafe® Bark for Your Park™ contest announcements, helpful entry tips, and information on all previous contest winners, visit Additional updates and donation opportunities for Milwaukee’s first downtown dog park are available at