City accepts $410,000 grant for Maple Street improvements

REWARDING:  Big Rapids City Manager Steve Sobers, Rep. Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac, and Randy Ostrander look over the proposed Maple Street redevelopment plans on Friday during the grant check presentation at City Hall. (Pioneer photo/Lonnie Allen)

REWARDING: Big Rapids City Manager Steve Sobers, Rep. Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac, and Randy Ostrander look over the proposed Maple Street redevelopment plans on Friday during the grant check presentation at City Hall. (Pioneer photo/Lonnie Allen)

BIG RAPIDS — New LED street lights, park improvements and much more was discussed on Friday when city officials accepted grant money from the state for the makeover of Maple Street.

Key personnel from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Rep. Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac, officials representing the Big Rapids Downtown Business Association, downtown business owners and others were on hand showing support for the upcoming project.

“We now look forward to implementing the grant and improving our downtown area,” Mayor Mark Warba said during the presentation.

The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approved a $410,204 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for the city. The grant will address storm water needs, provide funds for sidewalk replacement and the addition of a new bus stop to the existing route. The total project cost is estimated to be nearly $483,600, with a local match of $73,400.

Potvin thanked those in attendance for supporting the community with its redevelopment plans for Maple Street.

AWARD: Big Rapids City Treasurer Jon Locke, Rep. Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac, Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba and Sarah Rainero, of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation hold up the $410,204 check during the award presentation on Friday at City Hall. (Pioneer photo/Lonnie Allen)

AWARD: Big Rapids City Treasurer Jon Locke, Rep. Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac, Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba and Sarah Rainero, of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation hold up the $410,204 check during the award presentation on Friday at City Hall. (Pioneer photo/Lonnie Allen)

“This is a great time to show togetherness,” Potvin said. “The really exciting thing about this is to see what city officials are doing with their community, not only inviting people in but reaching out and making them feel better about the community they live in.”

Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, said in a news release on Friday that through the funding, the grant will help spur economic development. The city of Big Rapids will be able to replace existing sidewalks in the downtown area and build a new public pavilion in Mitchell Creek Park.

“This grant will help Big Rapids improve the downtown area and attract new jobs and development,” Booher said. “Rebuilding sidewalks and updating parks make the quality of living better for residents.”

The grant is made available by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, with funds provided by the federal CDBG program. The funds will also be used for other improvements, including new bike racks, a car charging station, new curbs and gutters.

“This turnout is a reflection of the interest and support we have for the downtown area,” Warba said. “There was no promise or guarantee we would get the grant, but it worked out well for us and we are fortunate to have the funds to make these improvements.”

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Posted by Lonnie Allen

Lonnie is the Pioneer's city/county reporter. He also coordinates the Gardens and Growers page. He can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8328 or by e-mail at lallen@pioneergroup.com.

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