©2016 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Governor Announces Assistance to Boost Economic Opportunities in Michigan Downtowns

Monday, December 06, 2004

Paul Krepps
(517) 335-4590

$2.1 Million to Create 115 New Jobs in Five Communities

Governor Jennifer Granholm today announced that more than $2.1 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funding has been offered to five Michigan communities as part of the new Michigan Downtown Gateways program. The funding, made available through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), will be used for downtown gateway improvement projects in Hastings, L'Anse, Owosso, Portland and St. Ignace. The program is one component of the Governor's new Grow Michigan Communities initiative designed to bring more jobs and investment to Michigan's downtowns.

"Michigan's heart and soul is reflected in our unique downtown areas, whether big or small," Granholm said. "This funding will help create opportunities for new development and economic growth in these five downtowns, and as the Gateways program moves forward more communities will benefit as well."

The following communities were chosen to receive funding:

  • City of Hastings, $260,000: The city will make downtown streetscape improvements that include new sidewalks, curbs, gutters and streetlights to help facilitate the expansion and growth of several downtown businesses. Hastings will contribute an additional $223,000 to the project, which is expected to generate $268,211 in private investment and 13 new jobs.
  • Village of L'Anse, $440,000: The village will make Main Street streetscape improvements to accommodate the construction of a new grocery store in the heart of the central business district. The project is expected to create $2 million in private investment and 22 new jobs. The L'Anse Downtown Development Authority has committed an additional $559,500 to facilitate the project.
  • City of Owosso, $750,000: The city will use the funding to help demolish the former Owosso Hotel and construct a parking structure to serve the needs of a new mixed-use development which will include retail and office space and 16 condominium units. Dixie Development LLC will invest $4 million in the project, which is expected to create 38 new jobs.
  • City of Portland, $625,000: The recently named "Cool City" will use the funding to help construct a boardwalk to allow rear access to businesses and residential units along the Grand River. The economic growth that will be created as a result of the boardwalk is expected to generate $150,000 in private investment and 30 new jobs. The Portland Downtown Development Authority will contribute $90,000. The city will also use a recently awarded $100,000 state Cool Cities grant to help finance the project.
  • St. Ignace, $120,000: The city will construct a public brick walk, restrooms and parking facilities to serve a new retail development located in the heart of the downtown. St. Ignace will contribute an additional $24,000 for the project. Heritage Houses Inc. plans to invest about $345,000 to redevelop an existing 8,000-square-foot vacant structure into retail space to accommodate approximately six businesses and create 12 new jobs.

Grant recipients were selected primarily on their overall eligibility and the impact the project will have on the community. Priority was given to projects that are ready to begin construction in the immediate future, have sufficient local matching funding and have completed preliminary cost estimates.

Michigan Downtown Gateways funding may be used for public infrastructure improvements in support of specific, private projects that will result in the creation of jobs and private investment in traditional downtown commercial centers or along major arteries leading into downtowns. Approved projects are required to have a minimum 10 percent local match, a 2:1 ratio of private to public investment and be located within a designated Downtown Development Authority.

The $30 million, two-pronged Grow Michigan Communities initiative also includes funding for community public works infrastructure projects. Communities were invited to submit notices of intent to receive funding from both programs in late September. In October, 20 communities were approved to receive $8.3 million for various public works projects.

"CDBG funding remains a staple resource to help communities meet the costs of continuous improvement," said MEDC President and CEO Don Jakeway. "This new initiative will help make downtowns across the state more attractive for business growth and job creation."

Notices of intent for Michigan Downtown Gateways funding will be considered on an ongoing basis. For more information on the new programs, please contact the MEDC at (517) 373-6213.

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.