By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Sep 02, 2021 at 3:29 PM

You did it, Milwaukee!

The future Downtown dog park, beneath I-794 between Plankinton Avenue and the Milwaukee River, has won a contest to nab a $25,000 grant.

PetSafe Brand announced today that Milwaukee is among five communities to win one of the $25,000 Bark for Your Park grants.

“We’re thrilled to be a Bark for Your Park grant winner,” said Matt Dorner, economic development director for Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, in a statement Thursday.

“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.”

News of the dog run – a project of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, Historic Third Ward BID #2 and Downtown Neighbors Association (DNA) – was released in early August when the contest finalists were announced.

Park organizers are seeking to raise about $750,000 to fund the park, which will not rely on public money. Instead it will be paid for through donations and sponsorships.

You can read a full story on the features and details of the dog park plan in this article.

"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," said Celeste Vlok, marketing manager for PetSafe, in Thursday’s statement.

"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!"


Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.