Thursday, August 19, 2004
$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 Traverse City 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.
"The arts enrich our souls, and yet can also bring new economic development and jobs that enrich Michigan communities," Granholm said. "With the support of Cool Cities funding, this project will significantly enhance Traverse City's cultural appeal and attract further development downtown."
Traverse City will use the Cool Cities funding to start the Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship. The 4,000 square-foot institute, housed within the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce in Downtown Traverse City, is committed to building the strongest of regional economies by strategically combining the innovative mixture of creative and business resources in the Traverse City area. Key partners include the City of Traverse City, Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, Northwestern Michigan College, Northwestern Michigan Council of Governments, Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center, Traverse Area Arts Council, Michigan Land Use Institute and the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority.
"This is not business as usual," said Tim Nelson president of Northwestern Michigan College. "The Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship creates a new context for economic development. We believe this project can serve as a model for other communities throughout the state."
In addition to the state grant, Traverse City 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.
"The quality of the Cool Cities applications was inspiring," said David Hollister, director of the Department of Labor and Economic Growth (DLEG). "Traverse City is to be congratulated for putting together such an outstanding project and coming out as a winner amongst an array of innovative and creative projects."
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 and MEDC along with 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.
"Cool Cities is a great example of multi-agency collaboration," said MEDC President and CEO Don Jakeway. "Combining the knowledge and skills of all the participating agencies has made this innovative program a success."
Additional projects designated to receive Cool Cities funding are in Alpena, Bay City, Detroit, Ferndale, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Marquette, Port Huron, Portland, Saginaw, Saugatuck, Sault Ste. Marie, 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.