Small communities get helping hand to eliminate blight

Photo courtesy: Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan/Michigan Land Bank

LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Small communities looking to grow and thrive now have a chance to eliminate blight without breaking the budget, Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority Director Josh Burgett said today, rolling out the Michigan Rural Community Demolition Grant.

The funds, available to Michigan county land banks and local units of government in counties with populations under 50,000, are designed to help communities remove vacant and abandoned structures from their neighborhoods and prepare for future developments that spark business investment and provide good jobs for residents.

“This is about making sure Michigan’s smaller communities have the resources and opportunity to play a key role in the state’s comeback,” Burgett said. “Michigan communities, small and large, are still rebuilding from the downturn in the economy. This new funding will serve as a catalyst for positive change for our smaller communities, giving them an opportunity to play a key part in the revitalization happening across the state.”

The maximum award per proposal is $50,000 and can be used toward vacant and abandoned, blighted commercial or residential structures. Proposals will be 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 place-making efforts.

This one-time fund appropriation, spearheaded by Sen. Jim Stamas, places a much-needed focuses on supporting communities with the greatest population loss since 2000.

“This new program provides resources and assistance to more rural communities to help bring their community development visions to life,” Sen. Jim Stamas said. “I look forward to seeing these funds get put to use and the positive impact these projects will have in growing our small communities across Michigan.”

Municipalities interested in applying for funds can learn more and view application details online at www.michigan.gov/landbank. Applications will be accepted until 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15.