Friday, November 25, 2005
Michael Shore, MEDC
Downtown Planning Grant to Support Main Street Initiative
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation today announced a $30,000 grant to help finance an economic development study for the city of Ishpeming. The study will support the city's efforts to revitalize the downtown area through the Michigan Main Street initiative.
The MEDC is making the grant available with funds provided by the federal Community Development Block Grant program.
The study will help identify current and future investment opportunities and evaluate second-floor loft housing opportunities.
Ishpeming is one of four communities chosen to participate in the Cool Cities Michigan Main Street program in 2005. The designation gives Ishpeming access to $200,000 in technical assistance and training as a part of a long-term management approach to revitalizing the downtown. This is the third year that the MEDC has administered the program, modeled on methods developed by the Main Street National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington D.C. A total of 11 Michigan communities have received the designation.
"Communities must continuously analyze their downtown development plans," MEDC President and CEO James Epolito said. "This grant will make it possible for Ishpeming to make educated development choices and stay ahead of the ever-changing economic climate."
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation administers the state's Community Development Block Grant funds received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These funds are used to provide grants and loans to eligible counties, cities, villages and townships-typically those with populations less than 50,000-for economic development, community development and housing projects. Larger communities receive block grant funds directly from the federal government.
The MEDC is able to award approximately $40 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 study will help Ishpeming seek out and work with private investors, showing them the economic opportunities that exist in downtown Ishpeming and encourage them to undertake second-floor housing projects and open new businesses which have been identified as appropriate by the market analysis findings," Ishpeming City Manager John Korhonen said.
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. For more information on MEDC initiatives and programs, visit the Web site at www.michigan.org.
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