Is your downtown an eye sore?

Statewide grant program available to help rejuvenate historic downtown buildings and more.

Outdated buildings, broken sidewalks, and infrastructure issues? The look of a downtown can say a lot about a community. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has a grant program called Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) that may be able to help fix some of these issues.

The CDBG program is a federal grant program utilizing funds received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Each year, Michigan receives approximately $30 million in federal CDBG funds, out of which various projects are funded through the state. Funds are used to provide grants to eligible counties, cities, villages, and townships, usually with populations under 50,000, for economic development, community development and housing projects.

Michigan State University Extension partner Northern Lakes Economic Alliance has been assisting the enhancement of communities in the counties of Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, and Emmet with CDBG funded projects. Grant funding is designed to assist local units of government that have plans in place to promote and strengthen the infrastructure and environment in their downtowns. These grants are designed to help create vibrant communities and enhance sense of place through blight elimination, job creation, and by benefiting areas of low- to moderate-income individuals.   

Currently, the NLEA is facilitating the application process for a façade project in downtown Cheboygan. A group of Cheboygan businesses in conjunction with the Cheboygan Downtown Development Authority and the City of Cheboygan are working together to leverage funds to transform the face of their downtown. Eleven interested businesses are hoping to leverage their money with a Building Façade Grant from the MEDC’s Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG). Each building can receive up to 75 percent in grant funding for façade improvements.

Michigan State University Extension has had a unique relationship with the regional economic development organization Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) for more than 20 years. Recognizing the strength of combining resources, this partnership focuses on economic development, entrepreneurship growth and community infrastructure throughout a four-county region in the northwest Lower Peninsula, specifically Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties. As a result, the NLEA utilizes resources offered through MSU Extension as it provides leadership to state-wide programs sponsored by MSU Extension.

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