Thursday, August 26, 2004
$100,000 Grant Awarded to Promote Creative Urban Development
On behalf of Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, officials from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation joined state and local leaders today to present a $100,000 grant to the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority as part of the Governor's Cool Cities pilot program. The program, designed to foster the development of vibrant, attractive cities and urban centers, is a key element of the Governor's overall economic development strategy for Michigan.
"These grants will help bolster local efforts to create more inviting downtown centers that will attract investment and jobs," Granholm said. "We want to help communities jump start their creative plans to attract residents, investment and jobs."
Ferndale will use the Cool Cities funding to help expand its existing "BUILD Program." BUILD currently offers a 20 percent reimbursement for exterior building improvements to properties within the downtown area. The Cool Cities grant will help fund interior improvements and renovations to five downtown properties. Ferndale is home to more than 200 businesses, including 25 restaurants and nine art galleries.
"These funds will support five major building projects in a one-block area of our downtown and help us guide a design process that is consistent with its character. We could not do it without the Cool Cities award," said Jeff Nahan, chairperson of Ferndale Downtown Development Authority. "We are truly honored to be a recipient of this grant and all of the resources the state has to offer."
In addition to the state grant, Ferndale will have access to a resource toolbox that includes more than 75 of the state's community improvement grant, loan and assistance programs. These resources can be leveraged and strategically directed to revitalization projects that offer the best opportunity for success.
A multi-agency team reviewed 151 project applications from 112 Michigan communities. Twenty finalists were chosen that demonstrated close partnerships with community organizations and the private sector, and offered the best plans for creating large-scale neighborhood or community improvements.
"All of the applications were truly cool," Hollister said. "Ferndale should be commended for being selected from such a unique group of quality projects."
Teams associated with projects not designated as part of the pilot program are eligible to attend an educational and training session in Lansing later this month. They will meet with representatives from DLEG and MEDC along with the 14 participating state departments to discuss how they can improve their applications for the next round of grants and determine what other resources might be available to them.
"Cool Cities is one of the best examples of multi-agency cooperation I've seen," said MEDC President and CEO Don Jakeway. "It has been great to work with all the diverse state agencies to make the program a success."
Additional projects designated to receive Cool Cities funding are in Alpena, Bay City, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Marquette, Port Huron, Portland, Saginaw, Saugatuck, Sault Ste. Marie, Traverse City, Warren and Ypsilanti. Detailed information about each project is available at www.coolcities.com.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.