Infrastructure Development and Redevelopment
Public infrastructure is the most important part of community development. Without adequate water, sewer, electric, roads and telecommunications, companies big or small will choose to locate in more viable communities. There are several sources of funding to help communities build out municipal systems or purchase essentials such as fire trucks. A summary of some of these programs is found below. It is not an exhaustive listing; however, it outlines the programs that are most utilized in this area and ones that have been reliably available from year to year.
Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) are administered by the Michigan Strategic Fund through the Michigan Economic Development Corp. They are used by municipalities for activities that help a for-profit business locate or expand in their community, such as extending water and sewer lines to a manufacturer that will create new permanent jobs. They can be used for critical infrastructure needs in low- and moderate-income communities. They require match funding either by the municipality or the private company. Click here for a fact sheet.
Econonic Development Administration (EDA)
Economic Development Administration (EDA) is a federal agency found within the U.S. Department of Commerce. EDA provides grants (“investments”) to lower income communities throughout the U.S. on a competitive basis. Their investment policy is “designed to establish a foundation for sustainable job growth and the building of durable regional economies…”. EDA investment programs (i.e. grants) are found in a variety of areas, including planning related to economic development (Local Technical Assistance Program) and upgrading infrastructure where it will lead to permanent job creation (Public Works Program). The Local Technical Assistance Program helps to fill the knowledge and information gaps that may prevent leaders in the public and nonprofit sectors in distressed areas from making optimal decisions on local economic development issues. The Public Works Program empowers distressed communities to revitalize, expand and upgrade their physical infrastructure to attract new industry, encourage business expansion, diversify local economies and generate or retain long-term, private sector jobs and investment. Other programs are available through EDA, but the two described above are the most utilized ones.
Before a project will be funded by EDA, it must be included in the most recent update of the “Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy” (CEDS). In NLEA’s region, the counties of Antrim, Charlevoix and Emmet are covered by the Networks Northwest (NNW) CEDS. Cheboygan County is covered by the Northeast Michigan Council of Governments CEDS.
For more information about EDA funding programs and opportunities, click here.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA RD)
U.S Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA RD) provides grants and loans for rural communities, defined as a place with fewer than 2,500 inhabitants or a place with a population not in excess of 20,000 inhabitants. Their grant and loan portfolio is extensive: rural housing, business and cooperative development, energy efficiencies, value-added agriculture ventures, utilities and community facilities, telecommunications and broadband build out, to name a few.
For more information about USDA RD funding programs and opportunities, click here.
Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT)
Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) administers various programs that help to improve and maintain the State’s transportation networks. The grant program related most closely to economic development is the “Economic Development Fund – Category A”.
MDOT’s Economic Development Fund – Category A is designed to promote increased economic potential and improve the quality of life through support of job creation and retention in Michigan. Eligible applicants are county road commissions and all city and village street agencies. Funds of up to 80% of the project costs may be obtained to help fund transportation projects where it will lead to permanent job creation in the private sector. The project must relate to expansions in one of the following industries: agriculture or food processing, tourism, forestry, high technology research, manufacturing, mining or office centers of 50,000 sq. ft. or more in size.
Click here to learn more about MDOT Category A funding opportunities.
NLEA’s Team of Economic Development Specialists can assist communities in finding the most effective approach to meet their needs. To learn more about our services and full range of community development solutions, please contact us at 231-582-6482, or by email.