©2016 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Grand Rapids Officially Celebrates Cool

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Paul Krepps, MEDC
(517) 335-4590

$100,000 Grant Awarded to Promote Creative Urban Development

On behalf of Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, officials from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) joined state and local leaders today to present a $100,000 grant to the Grand Rapids Uptown Advisory Council as part of the state's Cool Cities pilot program. The program, designed to foster the development of vibrant, attractive cities and urban centers, is part of the Governor's overall economic development strategy for Michigan.

"Michigan's cities are the cornerstone of the economic strength and vitality of the entire state," Granholm said. "This Cool Cities funding will support redevelopment projects in Grand Rapids that further advance the city's growth into as a major economic and cultural center."

The Grand Rapids Uptown project involves the redevelopment of a former brownfield site in the heart of the Uptown Village, anchoring the corner of Diamond Avenue and Lake Drive. The project includes the construction of a LEED certified, historically compatible, five-unit retail and office facility utilizing environmentally sustainable building design that incorporates state-of-the-art green technology. The project also includes traditional facade improvement activities and the implementation of "wayfinding" design to promote an improved pedestrian-friendly and unified atmosphere to the Uptown area.

"Uptown is a unique urban village," said Rachel Lee, "Uptown Girl," Uptown Advisory Council Staff. "The area combines opportunities for housing, education, entertainment and dining with business start-ups, creating a sustainable live-work-play environment in a walkable community setting."

In addition to the state grant, Grand Rapids will receive 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.

"I wish we could afford to fund all of the unique and innovative projects that were submitted," said David Hollister, director of the Department of Labor and Economic Growth (DLEG). "The overwhelmingly positive response to this program indicates that communities across the state are enthusiastic about improving and sustaining their vitality to generate jobs and opportunities for future generations."

Teams associated with projects not designated as part of this pilot program are eligible to attend an educational and training session in Lansing this month. They will meet with representatives from the DLEG, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), and 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.

"Many state agencies pooled their knowledge and resources to make the Cool Cities initiative a reality," said MEDC President and CEO Don Jakeway. "The program is going to help Grand Rapids and many other communities jump-start some very positive development projects."

Additional projects designated to receive Cool Cities funding are in Alpena, Bay City, Detroit, Ferndale, Flint, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Marquette, Portland, Port Huron, 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.