City officials recently received some good news regarding their desire to improve Centertown. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. notified the city that the Washington Avenue Downtown Linkage Project will be recommended for a $711,449 state grant.
“This is, in my opinion, a pretty big deal, because most of the funding went to traditional downtowns,” Assistant City Manager Sam Janson said.
The state economic development agency will ask the Michigan Strategic Fund to approve the grant in April, Janson said.
The Centertown project will be a major reconstruction of Washington Avenue from U.S. 31 through the intersection at Seventh Street.
City Manager Pat McGinnis called it a “big civil-engineering project” that will include improvements to water and sewer lines, streetscape work, and sidewalk and landscape improvements.
When the city submitted its application for the grant earlier this year, city officials considered it a long shot that they would get it.
“You put them out and see if they get a response,” Janson said. “There’s always the off-chance we might get it and might not.”
Mayor Geri McCaleb said she is looking forward to the improvements in the Centertown neighborhood.
“Some of the businesses have been there a long time, so it’s about time we made some improvements," she said.
The estimated total cost of the project is $948,599. About $237,150 would come from local funding; the grant would pay the rest.
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