Calumet’s facade grant moves forward

(keweenawinfo.com) Cross Country Sports, on Oak Street in Calumet, is one of four buildings that is scheduled to receive facade work next spring, as one of four buildings in the village who contributed to a grant match toward an MEDC grant this past summer.

CALUMET — With funding from a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has completed the process of seeking quotes to provide complete grant administration for $305,709 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funded project. The Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) has been selected as as the administrator, said DDA executive director, Leah Polzien.

“The MEDC gives us federal money,” KEDA executive director Jeff Ratcliffe, and there are certain processes the MEDC sets in place which, he said the DDA has followed.

“This is for a certified grant administrator,”Ratcliffe told the Village Council at its regular September meeting, “which means it’s only available to a finite pool of people. So, the village puts it up on their website, which they did, and the MEDC sent it out directly to all the certified grant administrators in Michigan.”

At the regular July meeting, Ratcliffe had informed that council that KETA, the DDA, Main Street Calumet, as well as the council, were focusing their attention on improvements to a number of buildings on Fifth Street.

“At this juncture,” Ratcliffe informed the council in July, “the buildings are 100 Fifth Street, 209 Fifth Street, 301 Fifth/507 Oak (Cross Country Sports), and 326 Fifth. Basically from the 100 Block down through the 300 Block.”

Ratcliffe said in July that the grant amount being sought was $251,282, with a $66,427 match from the owners of the buildings involved, and the DDA had committed $10,000 to launch the project.

“Jeff did talk about the block grant,” Polzien said at the September meeting. “Our business owners do have their designs in. We will get them bid and construction is going to be in the spring.

With grant money and other funding in place, Polzien and Ratcliffe had already begun looking for a grant for future projects. The political tensions in Lansing currently, however, have slowed them down.

“I’ve been working together with Jeff to put a proposal together to the MEDC,,” Polzien told the council. “MEDC is restructuring now, because we have a new governor, and they’re not going to do anything, is basically what we were told. So, that is on hold, unfortunately. But we are looking at a grant through MDARD (Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development).”