Sault Ste. Marie Officially Celebrates Cool -
$100,000 Grant Awarded to Promote Creative Urban Development
On behalf of Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, officials from the Michigan State
Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) joined state and local leaders today
to present a $100,000 grant to the Soo Theatre Project, Inc. as part of the
state's Cool Cities pilot program. Sault Ste. Marie's redevelopment
project is one of 20 recently chosen to receive funding. The program, designed
to foster the development of vibrant, attractive cities and urban centers,
is part of the Governor's overall economic development strategy for
"Our state's greatest economic successes have often gone hand-in-hand
with the creative and productive power of our cities," Granholm said.
"Although government cannot create cool, these grants will bolster local
efforts to create more inviting downtown centers that will attract investment
and job creation."
The Soo Theatre Project proposes to restore and renovate the classic and historic
Soo Theatre Complex to its original grandeur of the 1930's. This project
is part of the downtown revitalization and will provide economic development
and other economic benefits.
"The Soo Theatre Cool Cities project will promote economic growth and
development in the downtown by providing increased retail growth and residential
housing," said Lee Shirey, Downtown Development Director in Sault Ste.
Marie. "The Soo Theatre Project will provide a home for the arts and
cultural community in downtown, and will be catalyst for additional investment
in the downtown."
Additional projects designated to receive Cool Cities funding are in Alpena,
Bay City, Detroit, Ferndale, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Marquette,
Port Huron, Portland, Saginaw, Saugatuck, Traverse City, Warren and Ypsilanti.
Detailed information about each project is available at www.coolcities.com.
Each grant recipient will receive a catalyst grant of up to $100,000, as well
as access to a resource toolbox that includes access to more than 75 of the
state's community improvement grants, loans and assistance programs.
These resources and the catalyst grants leverage millions of existing dollars
that can now be strategically directed to revitalization projects that offer
the best opportunity for success.
" Selecting the final 20 projects was difficult because there were so
many high-quality applications submitted," said David Hollister, director
of the Department of Labor and Economic Growth (DLEG). "The reaction
to the program has been extremely positive and we hope to continue the momentum
to help more Michigan communities in their quest for cool."
One hundred and fifty-one project applications from 112 Michigan cities were
submitted for the pilot program. A multi-agency team reviewed each project,
looking for those that demonstrated close partnerships with existing community
organizations and the private sector and offered plans for creating large-scale
neighborhood or community improvement.
Teams associated with projects not designated as part of this pilot program
are eligible to attend an educational and training session in Lansing in August.
They will meet with representatives from the DLEG, the Michigan State Housing
Development Authority (MSHDA), and the 14 participating state departments
to discuss how they can improve their applications for the next round of grants
and determine what other resources might be available to them.
"The Cool Cities initiative is an excellent example of what can happen
when state agencies and local governments and development organizations cooperate,"
said Acting Executive Director Rick L. Laber. "We are pleased to be
among the many organizations contributing toward the success of this innovative
The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), a partnership between
the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing
strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high
quality of life. For more information on MSHDA initiatives and programs, visit
the Web site at www.michigan.org.
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