Nine Michigan Main Street Communities Receiving a Total of $200,000 in Grants for Downtown Improvement Projects

MEDC Communications

Thursday, February 29, 2024



LANSING, Mich. -- Today Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that nine communities around Michigan have been awarded a total of 200,000 in grants to support downtown enhancement and improvement projects. Communities receiving Main Street Vibrancy grants are Cheboygan, Wayland, Lapeer, Downtown Lansing Inc., Three Rivers, Saline, Mexicantown, Grosse Pointe, and North End. 

“Thriving, attractive downtowns are vital to creating unique places where people want to live, work, visit, and play,” said Governor Whitmer. “Today’s grants for 9 downtowns across Michigan will help these communities grow their economies, support local small businesses, and improve quality of life. Together, we will continue our comprehensive economic development strategy of investing in people, places, and projects. Let’s get this done so anyone can ‘make it’ in Michigan.” 

The Main Street Vibrancy Grant Program is intended to provide grants of $25,000 to Select or Master level Michigan Main Street communities for projects that enhance the vibrancy and economic vitality of Michigan Main Street downtowns. Projects could include pop-up shop programs, implementation of a marketing or advertising campaign, physical improvements such as new seating, seasonal infrastructure, signage, or art, and other transformative projects that help create a sense of place and a more vibrant community. 


2024 Main Street Vibrancy Grant winners

(see below for quotes from all winning organizations): 

Applicant Entity  

Project Description  


Festival Square Improvements – new tables and umbrellas, new flower and tree planters, custom banner installation, and installation of artwork 


Hometown Hype – New welcome sign incorporating new branding, wireless speaker system and a Downtown Hype Team 


Downtown Promotion/Increasing Brand Awareness – wayfinding signage installation, decorative banners,  community mural and Hype Hound program launch 

Downtown Lansing, Inc.  

Small Business Mini-Makeovers in four businesses downtown (Nubian, Sylvia’s Sudsery, Sweet Encounter Bakery and Café, Summit Comics and Games)  

Three Rivers  

Holiday lighting, Christmas Tree and other holiday decorations 


Holiday lighting and programming for live entertainment during Cocoa Crawl Event Weekend 


Marketing and Brand Awareness Campaign – Locable marketing platform and Mexicantown Main Street marketing campaign, banner installation, branded trash bins, and tourist attraction resources (brochures, maps and digital content) 

Grosse Pointe  

Get to the Pointes - placemaking project with public space activation in three plazas (new seating, refurbished chess tables and games, new planters); public art installations; signage for the Loop social district, and new banners 

North End 

Light Up Main Street – winter season lighting of East Grand Boulevard and holiday shopping event 



“We’re pleased to support these communities, who have all worked diligently to enhance the sense of place and vibrancy in their downtowns, engage residents and businesses, and drive economic growth,” said Michelle Parkkonen, Managing Director of Technical Assistance Programs at the MEDC. “Today’s Vibrancy grants reflect our ongoing efforts to create a holistic, people-first approach to economic development here in Michigan, and will help further strengthen the downtowns and commercial districts in these communities while also building unique places where people want to live, work, visit, and play.” 

In May 2023, eight Michigan communities were awarded a total of $200,000 in Main Street Vibrancy Grants and in April 2022, eight communities were awarded a total of $160,000 in Main Street Vibrancy Grants to support downtown enhancement and improvement projects. 

Michigan Main Street supports local communities across Michigan as they implement the Main Street Four-Point Approach®, a community-driven, comprehensive strategy encouraging economic development through historic preservation in ways appropriate for the modern marketplace. The program aims to create communities distinguished by a “sense of place.” The rationale is based on a range of studies that show investing in creating a sense of place is an integral part of developing vibrant city centers and downtowns, thereby making the state economically stronger and culturally diverse. 

As part of the Select Level of Michigan Main Street, communities receive five years of intensive technical assistance from MEDC with a focus on revitalization strategies designed to attract new residents, business investments, economic growth and job creation to their central business districts. 

After communities have completed the Select Level of the program, they can participate in the Master Level, a two-year commitment that includes additional training and networking and mentoring opportunities. 

A total of 22 communities currently participate in the Michigan Main Street program at the select and master levels. To see the full list, visit here.  

Over the past year, Michigan Main Street communities generated more than $17.4 million in private investment, 144 new businesses and 144 façade and building improvements. For 20 years, Michigan Main Street has been a catalyst for job growth, private investment, and community engagement leading to comprehensive economic development creating more vibrant downtowns and traditional commercial districts in Michigan. From 2003 through 2023, 1,897 new businesses have been launched, with a total public investment of more than $146 million and total private investment of $424.6 million. In addition, more than 892,700 volunteer hours have been recorded by Michigan Main Street communities in revitalizing downtowns across the state. 



Downtown Lansing Inc. 

“We are thrilled to have been awarded a Michigan Main Street Vibrancy Grant to support retailers in our downtown business district,” said Cathleen Edgerly, Executive Director of Downtown Lansing Inc. “As we continue to fuel our transformation, these grant funds and the professional service assistance that comes with them will bring added energy and vibrancy to multiple storefronts downtown.” 


Cheboygan Main Street Downtown Development Authority 

“This Main Street Vibrancy Grant will allow us to begin the process of reviving a gathering place in our downtown that has lost its appeal and purpose over time,” said Cheboygan Main Street Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Polly Schneider. “By adding in colorful and accessible seating, along with softening the concrete and steel pavilion with potted trees and flowers, we will demonstrate how tactical urbanism can transform a space quickly, while giving the community back a sense of pride for this gathering space.” 


Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority/Main Street 

“Overall, the Winter Night in Lights Project supported by Vibrancy grant dollars will enhance our downtown district by creating a dynamic and attractive destination for residents and visitors throughout the holiday season,” said Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority/Main Street Executive Director Cameron Mains. “Through strategic investments like this towards beautification, events, small businesses, and community engagement, we can transform our downtown into a thriving hub of activity, commerce, and culture for all.”  


Downtown Wayland 

“The MEDC Vibrancy is essential for Wayland and the continued growth of our new branding and confidence,” said Downtown Wayland Executive Director Holli McPherson. “Without the grant dollars, larger projects which make the biggest visual impact would not be possible for downtown Wayland. The goal of this vibrancy project is to bring back the hometown hype with a speaker system, new welcome sign and a Hype program.” 


Lapeer Main Street/Downtown Development Authority 

“This vibrancy grant will allow the Lapeer Main Street DDA to move forward immediately with projects that could otherwise take us several years to accomplish,” said Lapeer Main Street/Downtown Development Authority Executive Director James Alt. “That means we’ll be able to build on our momentum and continued excitement around the revitalization of Historic Downtown Lapeer. The wayfinding and directional signage will help direct traffic to destinations in our great downtown while. “Our brand recognition and add a pop of color in the winter months. We will also be creating a local ‘Hype Hound’ program and laying the groundwork for a downtown ambassador program that will engage, and encourage local residents and their dogs to shop and support local businesses.” 


Main Street Grosse Pointe 

“Being awarded the MEDC’s Main Street Vibrancy Grant is not only a great honor, but something that will allow Main Street Grosse Pointe to showcase the impact that grassroots community efforts can have,” said Main Street Grosse Pointe Executive Director Cindy Willcock. “The “Get to the Pointes” placemaking initiative is a series of small projects that are purposely woven together to have a large impact on The Village, Downtown Grosse Pointe.  Enhancing the plaza areas with additional seating options, games and public art, adding new Loop social district signage and street pole banners featuring our new Main Street branding will enhance walkability, provide space for residents and visitors to relax, gather and enjoy and create a sense of belonging and community pride that will be felt for years to come.” 


Saline Main Street 

“Thanks to your generous grant, we will be able to transform our downtown into a holiday wonderland in December, without diverting the city's focus on updating our infrastructure,” said Saline Main Street Executive Director Mary Dettling. “Your support ensures that the magic of the season shines bright, bringing our city together in joy and celebration.” 



“The allocation of the Vibrancy Grant funding for Mexicantown Main Street's marketing platform and brand awareness campaign project signifies a pivotal investment in revitalizing our district,” said Mexicantown-Hubbard Communities Main Street Director, Southwest Detroit Business Association Vice President of Programs and Compliance Brandi Watts. “These funds will allow us to implement a comprehensive marketing strategy, leveraging digital platforms, traditional media, and community engagement initiatives to amplify Mexicantown Main Street's visibility and appeal. Through targeted branding efforts, we will be able to elevate awareness of the Mexicantown Main Street district, showcasing its unique offerings, local businesses, and cultural assets. This heightened visibility will not only attract more visitors, but also foster a sense of pride and belonging among businesses and residents, ultimately strengthening our community fabric. Furthermore, an enhanced marketing platform and campaign will help cultivate a more engaging and functional corridor that encourages engagement, ownership and pride in what our district offers to residents and visitors.” 


North End 

“North End Main Street is so excited to have received a partial Vibrancy Grant for our district,” said Vanguard Community Development Corporation Vice President Economic Development and Main Street Manager Lisa Tucker. “It will be awesome to watch this upcoming holiday winter season! Many Thanks to the MEDC team!” 



About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

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