Downtown Program Attracts 12 Entries

July 23, 2004
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LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) announced that 12 communities across the state are now competing for funding through the Blueprints for Michigan’s Downtowns program. As many as 10 will ultimately be chosen to work with the MEDC and HyettPalma, a national downtown consulting firm, to formulate downtown economic development action agendas.

Blueprints for Michigan’s Downtowns fosters community revitalization by helping communities form action plans to encourage economic growth. This year, applications were received from: Charlotte, Fremont, Highland Park, Houghton, Howard City, Imlay City, Ionia, Linden, Menominee, Milan, Saline and Wayland.

“Last year’s program was a great success,” said MEDC President and CEO Don Jakeway. “Continuing the partnership with MSHDA and MML will allow us to help more communities proactively plan for the future and encourage long-term economic growth in the core of their communities.”

The MEDC, in partnership with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and the Michigan Municipal League (MML), recently launched the second year of the competitive grant program. The MEDC and MSHDA have committed a total of $200,000 to fund the project.

In her 2004 State of the State address, Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced a focused seven-point plan for economic growth. Supporting community economic development and planning initiatives like Blueprints is part of that overall plan.

The action agendas that winning communities will formulate entail a long-term economic development vision, market analysis to determine the potential of the downtown area, a definitive course of action and formation of a public/private management team to implement the action plan. The estimated time for formulating a plan is approximately five months, with implementation estimated to take five years.

MEDC and MSHDA staff members are in the process of evaluating the applications, with assistance from the MML. Selections will be announced in September.

“MSHDA’s partnership with MEDC and MML is a winning combination for the communities that receive these grants,” MSHDA Acting Executive Director Rick Laber said. “The funding will revitalize more communities and stimulate economic growth, empowering residents of Michigan cities to take control of their future living and work environments.”

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