April 1, 2004
LANSING - Standing against the backdrop of boutiques, cafes, loft houses, and high-tech start-up businesses in Lansing's Old Town development, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm and Department of Labor and Economic Growth Director David Hollister today announced a new pilot program designed to help communities across the state create vibrant, attractive places for people to live, work and play.
"Michigan's economic future lies in creating vibrant communities that are magnets for people, jobs and opportunity," said Granholm. "Today, we're focusing the state's resources on projects that will become the magnet communities of tomorrow."
The "Cool City" pilot program combines more than 75 of the state's community improvement grants, loan programs, and assistance programs into a single "resource toolbox" that can be used by cities and communities for revitalization projects. The program also creates a new "catalyst grant" that will serve as a flexible tool for those organizations engaged in neighborhood revitalization projects. Together, the toolbox and the catalyst grants leverage millions of dollars that will be strategically directed to revitalization projects that present the best opportunity for success.
The Governor and Director today invited cities and community development organizations from across the state to present their "cool city" projects for funding.
"Communities have a big picture in mind when they engage in a neighborhood revitalization project," explained Hollister. "That big picture starts with a myriad of smaller projects: remodeling store fronts, repaving streets, creating sidewalks and bike paths, and cleaning up riverfronts just for starters. The State of Michigan has access to federal and other dollars to help communities complete the big picture."
The program will draw on more than 75 existing cultural development, transportation, environmental, and infrastructure development programs to assist cities implement their revitalization plans. The catalyst grants of up to $100,000 each were created by combining existing grant resources from the Departments of Labor and Economic Growth and History Arts and Libraries, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
Unlike many of the other grants and loans in the toolbox, the catalyst grants are not earmarked for a specific use and can be used with more flexibility to help complete the creation of a vibrant, attractive neighborhood.
"Communities across the state want to create neighborhoods that draw citizens and business in…and the state has the resources to help," said Granholm. "We'll now focus those resources where they'll have the most impact and the best chance of fostering success."
Projects with the greatest potential to draw citizens to live, work and play will be awarded a catalyst grant and will be given special priority consideration when state departments are awarding grants that are now part of the toolbox. A multi-agency team will review projects submitted to be part of the pilot - at least 12 projects will be selected to receive grants and access to the resource toolbox.
Projects chosen to be part of the pilot program must demonstrate close partnerships with existing community organizations and the private sector, and must offer a plan for creating large-scale neighborhood or community improvement. Bidders must also specifically outline how the Cool City Catalyst grant will be used to complete their project. Single projects seeking funding will not be excluded from state funding, but may be encouraged to seek funding directly through a department or agency rather than through the pilot program. To qualify for the pilot, projects must be conducted within a community that has established a local cool cities advisory group as part of the Governor's Cool Cities initiative.
Hollister announced that four informational sessions will be held around the state next week to provide interested bidders with additional information. Pre-bid sessions are scheduled as follows:
Monday, April 5: 1 - 3 p.m. Ramada Inn, Penn West Room, Marquette
Tuesday, April 6: 1 - 3 p.m. Waterfront Inn, Traverse City
Wednesday, April 7: 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. Cobo Conference Center, Room M2-29, Detroit
Thursday, April 8: 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. Crowne Plaza, Grand River Ballroom, Grand Rapids