Economic Development and Government

Cities pick up funds for downtown

March 3, 2014
| By Pete Daly |
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Four low- to moderate-income communities in the region are getting state funds to improve their downtowns.

The Michigan Strategic Fund has approved $7,600,176 in Downtown Infrastructure Grants for 14 communities across the state, including Big Rapids, Mattawan near Kalamazoo, Olivet and Constantine in southwest Michigan, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp. last week.

The goal is to “support reactivation of public spaces and incorporate design elements."

The money will be spent on streets, parking and related infrastructure.

The selected communities will provide a total of $2,715,620 in matching funds, with all the projects being in traditional downtowns and scheduled for completion in 2014.

The match amount in this case does not mean an equivalent amount: Big Rapids received a grant of $410,201 and will kick in $73,390 as its match. Mattawan received $285,885 and is putting up $256,000. The city of Olivet received 658,000 and is putting up 171,090. The village of Constantine received the smallest grant, $242,182, and is putting up $80,727.

“These grants will improve Michigan downtowns and spur additional economic growth in the surrounding areas,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “The DIG program helps make our communities more attractive for investments that create places where people want to live, work and play.”

The MEDC said DIG, a Community Development Block Grant program, is intended for low- to moderate-income communities that do not receive funding directly from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The state received 45 applications for the funds. 

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