|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
August 5, 2004
Contact: Paul Krepps, MEDC
Marquette Officially Celebrates Cool
$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 Marquette Downtown Development Authority 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.
"Our state's greatest economic successes have often gone hand-in-hand with the creative and productive power of our cities," Granholm said. "Although government cannot create cool, these grants will bolster local efforts to create more inviting downtown centers that will attract investment and job creation."
The Marquette Commons project will consist of a groomed, refrigerated ice plaza with a skating rink, warming house, walking/biking trail and a fountain located near the heart of the city on the site of a former parking lot and railroad trestle.
"The state of Michigan has been a strong partner in the city leaders' efforts to realize their vision for a vibrant downtown," said Bill Hetrick, chairperson of the Marquette Downtown Development Authority. "Marquette Commons will provide an impetus for further economic development in our historic city core."
In addition to the state grant, Marquette will receive access to a resource toolbox that includes access to more than 75 of the state's community improvement grants, loans 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 that were submitted from 112 Michigan communities. Twenty finalists were chosen that demonstrated close partnerships with existing community organizations and the private sector, and offered the best plans for creating large-scale neighborhood or community improvement.
"Selecting the final 20 projects was difficult because there were so many high-quality applications submitted," said David Hollister, director of the Department of Labor and Economic Growth (DLEG). "The reaction to the program has been extremely positive and we hope to continue the momentum to help more Michigan communities in their quest for cool."
Teams associated with projects not designated as part of this pilot program are eligible to attend an educational and training session in Lansing in August. 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.
"The Cool Cities initiative is an excellent example of what can happen when state agencies and local governments and development organizations cooperate," said MEDC President and CEO Don Jakeway. "We are pleased to be among the many organizations contributing toward the success of this innovative program."
Additional projects designated to receive Cool Cities funding are in Alpena, Bay City, Detroit, Ferndale, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, 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.