‘Placemaking Mini-Grants’ to help transform communities

Projects in Flint, Grand Blanc and Grand Blanc Township are among the 15 communities of the I-69 Thumb Region awarded $2,000 each from the state’s Placemaking Mini-Grant Program. The program, funded with financial support from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and administered by the I-69 Thumb Region partners, was established to help communities implement small impactful projects that encourage and contribute to a stronger sense of place.

Lot off Brush Alley in downtown Flint.

“The goal is to provide some financial support, by way of a grant, for local governments or nonprofits to do something that could have a positive ripple-effect in their communities,” said Tyler Rossmaessler, director of economic development at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, one of the seven partners of the I-69 Thumb Region.

In Flint, the Friends of the Alley will use its grant to beautify the undeveloped areas off Brush Alley (lot adjacent to Cork on Saginaw) with fencing, paving and electrical outlets. The revamped space will be used for small concerts and other social gatherings.

The City of Grand Blanc will create two murals near the Grand Chalet Shoppes on east Grand Blanc Road. Grand Blanc Township will install a bicycle fix-it station and rest stop at Bicentennial Park.

In addition to the Flint & Genesee Chamber, the I-69 Thumb Region is comprised of the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County, Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission, Lapeer Development Corp., Sanilac & Huron County Economic Development Corp., Shiawassee Economic Development Corp. and Tuscola County Economic Development Corp.

Other projects in the region awarded grants:

  • Casco Township- New entrance signs for the new Casco Township Belle River Park
  • Cass City Chamber – Landscaping and new gateway signs for Cass City on M-81
  • City of Corunna – Park benches and trash receptacles along Shiawassee River
  • City of Croswell – Contributions toward a kayak launch on the Black River
  • City of Laingsburg, DDA – Purchasing outdoor seating for restaurants and shops in Downtown Laingsburg
  • City of Lapeer – Contributions toward new decorative streetlights for downtown.
  • City of Sandusky – Revamp the city’s website
  • Friends of the Port Hope Railroad-Port Hope – Installing an aluminum architectural flagpole, including plantings at the marina
  • Village of Millington – Installing bike racks downtown
  • Village of North Branch – Contribution toward the installation of  a level 2, dual-port Electric Vehicle Charging station
  • Village of Pigeon – Helping to create new Pickle Ball Courts
  • Yale Public School-Yale – Contributions toward the replacement of playground equipment

Placemaking has an important role in the realm of community and economic development, according to the Project for Public Spaces, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build strong communities.