House approves $21M for projects across mid-Michigan
MID-MICHIGAN (WNEM) - New legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives will help support small businesses, afterschool programming, improve infrastructure and address blight across mid-Michigan
Congressman Dan Kildee’s office says $21,031,664 was secured for eight Community Project Funding requests that benefit Genesee, Saginaw, and Bay County residents. Seven other mid-Michigan projects are expected to be considered by the House soon.
“Today, we take a big step forward but the first step with these by getting them through the House of Representatives and then through the Senate,” Kildee said. “We’ve got more work ahead of us, but this is a big step forward.”
Kildee said mid-Michigan residents will personally see how the funding will work in their communities, especially when it comes to housing.
“They could see the houses that are substandard renovated, new roofs, new windows, new siding, support for better housing,” Kildee said. “For anybody that lives in a neighborhood that’s in trouble, that has a vacant or abandoned house or structure, we could see those empty buildings come down and replaced with green space.”
The legislation also includes increased funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which Kildee requested to help protect and restore the Great Lakes.
Members of Congress can submit up to 15 local projects with demonstrated community support for consideration. Eight of Kildee’s 15 community project funding projects were advanced on Wednesday, including:
· $3,000,000 to the city of Saginaw to make infrastructure investments to prepare downtown Saginaw for large-scale economic development, taking the first step toward unlocking additional economic development in the community.
· $2,800,000 to the Saginaw, Bay, and Genesee Habitats for Humanity to make critical home repairs, including energy systems and roofs, for veterans and low-income households and to support the Flint Home Improvement Fund (HIF), which helps Flint residents make necessary home upgrades to address health and safety issues.
· $3,000,000 to the YMCA of Flint, Dow Bay Area Family YMCA, and the YMCA of Saginaw to upgrade and improve community centers across mid-Michigan, helping with the construction of a new community center in Flint, renovation of an existing center in Saginaw and the construction of an outdoor center in Bay City.
· $2,416,664 to the Saginaw County Land Bank Authority to demolish some of the most dangerous, vacant properties, including the demolition of a former Chevrolet Plant, the former Welcome Inn Motel in Buena Vista Township and vacant properties surrounding the campus of Covenant Healthcare, and then plant trees on many of these vacant lots to improve urban tree cover.
· $4,000,000 to the Saginaw Transit Authority Regional Services (STARS), in coordination with Saginaw Valley State University, to build a mid-Michigan transit center to serve as a hub for several regional mass transit systems connecting communities and fostering economic development. STARS will also expand transit infrastructure in Saginaw County, including a viability study to retrofit the Potter Street Station and purchase new buses that have outlived their use.
· $1,065,000 to the Central Michigan University, on behalf of the Central Michigan University Research Corporation (CMURC) and in conjunction with the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC), to expand resources for small businesses, including creating an entrepreneurial training program in Saginaw and offering one-to-one business consulting for emerging entrepreneurs across mid-Michigan and a 12-week cohort-style training program that will directly benefit new and existing small businesses improve innovation, inclusion and economic resiliency in mid-Michigan.
· $4,000,000 to the Genesee County Land Bank Authority to demolish up to 240 dangerous and vacant residential and commercial structures to create opportunities for homeowners to build wealth through homeownership and new opportunities for economic investment and revitalization.
· $750,000 to the Genesee County Road Commission to upgrade and improve several roads in Flint, Fenton, Grand Blanc, and across Genesee County to improve the quality, durability, and safety of key roads in the community.
“It matters to me that we see improvements in the places that I care about, I love, and are populated with people that I work for,” Kildee said. “It’s also a passion for me to see the communities that I represent improve, and to be able to have a hand in that, going to the Congress and getting financial resources to do that work is really gratifying.”
Kildee said he knows Michiganders are hurting because of the economy, and he is working to bring down costs for families hurt by inflation.
“We’ve seen our investments pay off by making sure the economy stayed strong, but we know that we have to deal with inflation and that’s really the focus of a lot of my other work,” Kildee said. “While we are trying to rebuild these communities and also make sure that we are cutting down on costs by reducing the price of gas, reducing the price of medicine; those things are what we can do and what we should do and that’s what I’m focused on.”
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