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State gives GR $1 million to help redevelopment

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State gives GR $1 million to help redevelopment

Friday, September 03, 2004

The Grand Rapids Press

Grand Rapids' Brownfield program received a $1 million boost today from the state

The state Department of Environmental Quality planned to announce it will give two $500,000 grants to help fund environmental testing and cleanup for redevelopment efforts.

Brownfield sites include contaminated property or obsolete buildings.

The money provides an influx of cash to a program that has generated 52 projects and $115 million in private investment since 1996, said Susan Shannon, the city's economic development director.

One grant will go to testing, while the other will go to low-interest loans for environmental cleanup work.

The grants were to be announced this morning during a press conference at the offices of Design Plus, an architectural and engineering firm that was among the city's first beneficiaries of Brownfield funding.

The company's downtown offices are inside what had been a vacant, old train depot in a once-dilapidated area of Ionia Avenue SW.

Shannon said the city has exhausted the $1 million it was awarded from the state in 1996 for its Brownfield program.

The new funding is a sign of confidence in the city from Lansing that bodes well for Grand Rapids' Cool Cities initiative to promote urban redevelopment.

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