GR Seeks Site Assessment Grant

March 15, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — Wednesday is the deadline for the city’s second application for a $1 million grant to assess the environmental conditions of potential development sites in three areas.

The city and the Heartside Redevelopment Corp. were awarded a $1 million grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for site assessments in 1995. Roughly $20,000 still remains from that grant.

Susan Shannon, economic development director for the city, told the Downtown Development Authority last week that the first DEQ grant helped start 44 projects that created 440 jobs in the city.

The grant money allows the city to conduct environmental assessments on sites that private-sector developers may be interested in, which cuts a developer’s investment in a project. The city has two environmental engineering firms under contract to do that work.

Shannon, who is visiting groups to gain letters of support for the city’s application, said money from a new grant would be targeted toward assessments in the six original Renaissance Zone areas, the new downtown SmartZone, and the downtown development district.

The DDA agreed to issue a letter last week and Chairman Verne Barry expressed confidence that the city would be approved for the grant. Barry based his belief on the success the city’s initial application had.

“They’ve used us as a model for other cities,” he said.    

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