Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Paul Krepps, MEDC
$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 city of Portland 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 grant will support Portland's efforts to make its downtown even more inviting to new economic growth."
Portland will construct a 450-foot boardwalk behind historic commercial buildings along the Grand River in the city's downtown. These mixed-use buildings, located on the 100 block of Kent Street, include retail stores on the first level and loft apartments on the second. The boardwalk will allow greater accessibility to the buildings and connect to an existing pedestrian bridge that crosses the confluence of the Grand and Looking Glass Rivers.
"We're proud to be a Cool City," said Portland Mayor, James E. Barnes. "The designation makes us the only community in Michigan to be selected for both the Main Street and Cool Cities programs. The fact that we were chosen speaks to the quality of our grant proposal and the project's importance to the ongoing revitalization of Portland's downtown."
In addition to the state grant, Portland will have 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.
"All of the projects submitted were of the highest quality," said David Hollister, director of the Department of Labor and Economic Growth (DLEG). "Portland is to be commended for putting together a winning proposal in a very competitive process."
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.
"The Cool Cities initiative represents some of the best multi-agency collaboration that I've seen," said MEDC President and CEO Don Jakeway. "The MEDC is proud to contribute to 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, Marquette, 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.