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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Michigan Land Bank awards nine communities $350,000 to eliminate blight, grow and thrive

Recipients of the Michigan Rural Community Demolition Grant announced

Contact: Gabby Abel, 517-294-9552

April 2, 2019

LANSING, Mich. – Nine communities will receive a total of $350,000 to help eliminate blight, the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority announced Tuesday.

“Giving smaller communities the opportunity and resources to grow and thrive is a great way to ensure they can take part in the revitalization happening across our state,” Michigan Land Bank Director Josh Burgett said. “I’m proud to award funding to these nine communities for projects that will serve as a vehicle for positive change.”

The Michigan Rural Community Demolition Grant was made available to county land banks and local units of government to help communities remove vacant and abandoned structures from their neighborhoods, allowing them to prepare for future developments that spark business investment and provide job opportunities for residents.

Grants totaling $350,000 will be awarded to the following Michigan communities:

  • Village of Ontonagon
  • Bessemer
  • Houghton County Land Bank
  • Ironwood
  • City of Harbor Beach
  • Ontonagon Township
  • Manistee County Land Bank
  • West Branch
  • City of Newaygo

“This investment will help these growing rural communities eliminate blighted structures and replace them with new developments,” said state Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, who spearheaded the funding in the budget last year. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact this funding will have in bringing new job opportunities to these communities and improving the lives of area families and workers.”

Proposals were evaluated based on their anticipated impact in promoting public safety, enhancing economic development, public and private investment in the project and alignment with the community vision or other placemaking efforts.

Three of the nine communities (Village of Ontonagon, West Branch and Manistee) are participating in Project Rising Tide, a program run by the Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan to provide at-risk communities with the tools needed to design and build a successful economic framework. In addition to the resources and assistance from Project Rising Tide, grants will continue to help these communities establish long-term sustainable changes to bring about overall prosperity. The Michigan Land Bank will be available to assist these communities to help with future planning, resource acquisition, as well as planning for future developments.

To learn more about their efforts to improve communities across the state, visit