The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced today that two Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) totaling $112,500 has been offered to Huron County, representing a partnership of “thumb” region counties, and Cass County.The funding will be used to launch regional telecommunications planning projects to develop local strategies for improving telecommunications services as part of the LinkMichigan Initiative.
“Access to high-speed telecommunications is an important component of ensuring the healthy economic future of Michigan’s communities,” said Doug Rothwell, president & CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.“This is an important step forward for these regions and for Michigan as a whole.“
The MEDC co-hosted five LinkMichigan Regional Telecommunications Planning Forums this past January with the goal of educating communities on the availability and eligible use of planning assistance grants to be provided by the MEDC.The forums attracted nearly 500 attendees from 76 Michigan counties.Huron and Cass counties are the first to be awarded grants as a result of these forums.The counties’ plans for the funds include:
· Huron County received $75,000 on behalf of a group of counties in the “thumb” region including, Huron, Lapeer, Sanilac and Tuscola.The grant proceeds will be matched with $25,000 in local funds to prepare a telecommunications plan for the four-county area.The planning activities will include stakeholder assessment, industry survey, regional aggregation, network mapping, financial analysis and administration.
· Cass County has been offered a $37,500 telecommunications grant.Local matching funds in the amount of $12,500 will be provided as part of the project.The grant proceeds will be used to assess the current telecommunications infrastructure availability, perform a needs assessment and determine technology options and providers.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation administers the Michigan Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.CDBG is a federal program involving funds received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).Funds are used to provide grants or loans to eligible counties, cities, villages and townships, usually under 50,000 population, for economic and community development and housing projects.There are 1,655 local governments eligible to apply for these funds.
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.