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Press Release


Kathy Achtenberg, MEDC

Christina Arsenau
Director, Niles History Center

Matt Bach
Director of Communications
Michigan Municipal League
734.669.6317; C: 810.874.1073;


Crowdfunding Campaign Launched for "Chapin Mansion Access for All" Project in Niles

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

LANSING, Mich. – The Chapin Mansion in Niles will soon become a community center for all to enjoy through a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Niles History Center announced today. The campaign is being offered through Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $15,000 by March 8, 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 restoration of the mansion to include universally accessible elements and a new porch will expand and enhance the use of this beautiful landmark in Niles,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Katharine Czarnecki. “We are pleased to provide resources for this effort through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”

The campaign will help the Niles History Center transform the historic home into a community center with exhibits and programs for all ages and interests. The final step to making that possible is to complete the porch and to make the building accessible to all. The funding will add an ADA accessible ramp into the home and help make ADA updates to the space, it also will repair the porch, entry steps, second story balcony, and reinstall the original wood and stained glass entry doors. The space will be home to a wide array of community programming including concerts, holiday events, family events, tours and interactive exhibits.

“We are so excited to about this project, which will make the Chapin Mansion accessible for all. We look forward to opening up this beautiful city landmark to truly serve our community through historical tours, fun family programs and festive holiday events,” said Christina Arseneau, director of the Niles History Center. “No longer will anyone be excluded from making new memories at the Chapin Mansion.”

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

“Effective placemaking often involves taking an existing community asset and making it even better,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “That’s exactly the aim of this project in Niles - to make the Chapin Mansion a community center for all to enjoy for years to come.”

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 November 30, 2018, MEDC has provided $5,686,841 in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 186 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with $6.7 million raised from 35,005 individual donors.

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: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.

iMichigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at




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