Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Renewal of Blighted Site Bringing Housing and Cultural Opportunities
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced $750,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding to Jackson County to support the continuing redevelopment of the Armory Arts Project. The grant, made available through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), will help improve the property and is expected to spur more than $20 million in private investment.
"This unique project is going to transform a blighted industrial space into a vital hub for culture and affordable housing opportunities, Granholm said. "This is exactly the type of development that will attract the people and economic opportunity Jackson needs to thrive."
The county will use the funding to help install an elevator and construct a parking lot to serve the Armory Arts Project. The 147,000-square-foot, blighted site is in the process of being redeveloped into a cultural/residential development featuring 36 affordable housing units designed to meet the needs of artists and their families. The facility will also include exhibit and performance space as well as space for non-profit arts and cultural organizations and commercial businesses that enhance the arts and cultural experience.
The Enterprise Group of Jackson and Artspace Projects Inc. have spearheaded the development, which is located four blocks from the city's center and is within one of the state's tax-free Renaissance Zones.
The Armory Arts Project will contribute a $75,000 match to the $750,000 award. The grant to the county will be administered by The Enterprise Group of Jackson, the lead organization on the project.
"This grant and what it will mean for the Armory Arts Project and the Jackson community is a great example of what can happen when state and local entities work together to strengthen the economy," said Enterprise Group President and CEO Steve Czarnecki. "The MEDC not only makes that possible, but probable."
The MEDC is able to award up to approximately $50 million in federal CDBG funds each year. There are 1,655 local governments within the state eligible to apply for these funds. Projects are approved contingent upon compliance with state and federal requirements.
"This project will be a real asset for Jackson, both culturally and economically." said MEDC President and CEO Don Jakeway. "It is an example of how collaboration and some good imagination can make great things happen."
In her 2004 State of the State address, Governor Granholm announced her plan to make Michigan a global economic powerhouse in the 21st century. So far this year, the Governor and the MEDC have announced the creation or retention of approximately 29,059 jobs as a result of targeted assistance provided by the MEDC.
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.