Tuesday, August 24, 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 the city of Warren 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 a key element of the Governor's overall economic development strategy for Michigan.
"Cool Cities funding is a catalyst to help communities make their urban development projects a reality," Granholm said. "Warren's plan for a centralized city square, library and new city hall will lead to a heightened sense of community and act as a magnet for additional investment and jobs in the heart of downtown."
Warren will use the Cool Cities funding to help develop a two-acre city square bordered by a state-of-the-art library and city hall, a parking structure and commercial retail space. The square itself is designed to be an all-season hub of activity containing a unique fountain feature that may be transformed into an ice rink in winter months.
"It is an exciting day for Warren," said Mayor Mark Steenbergh. "This important project will benefit all the city's residents."
In addition to the state grant, Warren 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 outstanding," said David Hollister, director of the Department of Labor and Economic Growth (DLEG). "Hats off to Warren for coming up with one of the coolest urban redevelopment projects in Michigan."
Teams associated with projects not designated as part of the pilot program are eligible to attend an educational and training session in Lansing later this month. They will meet with representatives from 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 one of the best examples of multi-agency collaboration I have ever seen," said MEDC President and CEO Don Jakeway. "Leveraging the knowledge and skills of all of the participating agencies is a smart way to approach multifaceted urban development projects like Warren's."
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, Traverse City 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.