Granholm Announces $620,000 in Grants for Historic Idlewild

Monday, November 2, 2009

Grants will support rehab of senior center, fund feasibility study of Flamingo Club renovation

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced grants totaling $620,046 for Lake County’s Yates Township to fund projects in the historic community of Idlewild, once one of the most popular African-American resort destinations in the Midwest. The grants are made available by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) with funds provided by the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

“Dynamic communities are essential to Michigan’s continued economic success,” Granholm said. “This investment in Idlewild will accelerate our plan to preserve and revitalize the Idlewild community, enhance economic growth, and help meet the needs of Idlewild residents today.”

A grant of $46,450 to Yates Township will assist the preparation of a feasibility study and development plan for the historic Flamingo Club site to serve as a catalyst for future growth of the township and the preservation of Idlewild. In the years before desegregation, the Flamingo Club was one of a handful of entertainment venues in America to feature African-American entertainers and welcome African-American audiences, hosting stars such as Sarah Vaughan, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Della Reese, B.B. King, the Four Tops, and Sammy Davis Jr. 

A second grant of $573,596 will fund the rehabilitation of the Henrietta Summers Senior Center, allowing the center to accommodate the township’s growing senior population and meet Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility requirements. Funding will also help the township provide supplemental meals for seniors and add office and storage space. 

“Our partnership with the MEDC has enabled our community to obtain needed technical assistance, envision a new sustainable economic future and create the required business plans to guide our journey toward prosperity,” said George Walker, Yates Township supervisor. “With the support of the MEDC, we have crafted a viable economic development action strategy and master plan. This partnership will help us transform our community.”

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.

“The CDBG program is a good resource to help communities facilitate job growth and business development,” MEDC President and CEO Greg Main said. “The MEDC is pleased to partner with Yates Township and Lake County officials in planning a path for future growth.”

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.