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Governor Launches program to help states downtowns

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Governor Launches Two New Programs to Help Grow Michigan's Downtowns

$30 Million Devoted to Job Creation and Infrastructure Improvements

Governor Jennifer Granholm announced today that $30 million in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding is being earmarked for two new programs that will bring more jobs and investment to Michigan's core communities. The funding, made available through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), will be used for Michigan Downtown Gateways and Michigan Public Works programs. As part of the Governor's new Grow Michigan Communities Initiative, the two programs support her overall plan to help the state's economy grow into the 21st century.

"Thriving communities are the heart and soul of our economy," Granholm said. "Taking care that our downtowns and commercial centers remain economically viable is an essential ingredient to making Michigan a contender in the global fight for jobs and investment."

The programs address specific community needs as follows:

Michigan's Downtowns and Gateways funding may be used for public infrastructure improvements in support of specific, private projects that will result in the creation of jobs and private investment in traditional downtown commercial centers or along major arteries leading into downtowns. Approved projects are required to have a minimum 10 percent local match, a 2:1 ratio of private to public investment and be located within a designated Downtown Development Authority.

Michigan Public Works was created to benefit cities, villages and townships where at least 51 percent of the population is composed of low and moderate income residents as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The funds may be used for projects that upgrade existing public infrastructure systems by replacing deteriorating or obsolete systems or by adding capacity to existing but burdened systems.

After the MEDC sent letters to eligible Michigan communities to inform them of the new programs, 91 notices of intent were received from 70 communities, requesting a total of more than $43 million.

Grant recipients will be selected primarily on their overall eligibility and the impact the project will have on the community. Priority will be given to projects that are ready to begin construction in the immediate future, have sufficient local matching funding and have completed preliminary cost estimates. Final selections are expected to be announced in late October. "CDBG funding has been an excellent resource that meets the needs of many different types of community projects," said MEDC President and CEO Don Jakeway. "These new programs will further focus the funding on downtown development to complement the Governor's Cool Cities initiative."

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation administers the state's Community Development Block Grant funds received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These funds are used to provide grants to eligible counties, cities, villages and townships-typically those with populations less than 50,000-for economic development, community development and housing projects. Larger communities receive block grant funds directly from the federal government. Projects are approved contingent upon compliance with state and federal requirements.

For more information on the new programs, please contact the MEDC at (517) 373-6213.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life

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Yeah. It's about time that we had a governor who actually cared about our inner cities instead of fueling more sprawl. Now only if we could get some decent rail transit lines in the works....

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