14 Michigan cities get $23.2 million to restore the Great Lakes by renovating sewer systems

Having just returned in October from a week of work in Michigan, where he delivered two keynotes and two workshops–and held a number of strategic meetings—in Detroit, Battle Creek, and Kalamazoo, REVITALIZATION editor Storm Cunningham has Michigan on his mind this month. Thus the large amount of content related to the revitalization of that lovely state.

Just a few weeks before Storm arrived in Michigan, on September 29, 2017 to be exact, fourteen communities around Michigan were awarded $23.2 million in Community Development Block Grant Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement grants to upgrade existing water and sewer systems. There’s probably no more important work in the ongoing struggle to restore the Great Lakes.

Improving and updating infrastructure is vital to the continued health and economic well-being of our smaller communities,Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) CEO Jeff Mason said. “The Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement grants will allow these communities with the most immediate needs to begin work as soon as possible to make necessary improvements.

Complete list of grant winners.

Announced last November, the 2017 Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement grant program was intended to accelerate economic development and assist low and moderate income communities in making improvements or upgrades to their existing public infrastructure systems.

Activities could include: water lines and related facilities; sanitary and storm sewer lines and related facilities; wastewater treatment plants and related activities; and road replacement activities related to these projects. Grants of between $500,000 and $2 million would be awarded to eligible communities on a competitive basis.

A total of 48 communities applied for grants totaling $72.5 million. Communities had to provide a minimum of 10 percent match and demonstrate a locally approved Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) where the proposed project was specifically identified within the CIP.

Additional points were awarded for those communities integrating green infrastructure, engaged in MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities® or are a Master or Select Michigan Main Street.

Funding for the infrastructure grants is made possible from the Community Development Block Grant program, allocated to the state through the Michigan Strategic Fund by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

MSF, in cooperation with MEDC, uses the funds to award grants to eligible counties, cities, villages, and townships with populations under 50,000 for economic development, community development, and housing projects. Cities with populations greater than 50,000 receive funds directly from HUD.

All projects must be completed by December 31, 2019.

Featured image is a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) plume in Lake Michigan.
Photo credit: Watershed Council.

See Michigan Economic Development Corporation website.

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