MDARD Awards Grants for Rural Communities

Public input for 2019 program guidelines due by May 22

For immediate release: March 19, 2018

Marquette, Mich. – Today, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and the Rural Development Fund Board awarded Rural Development Fund Grants aimed to promote the sustainability of land-based industries and support infrastructure that benefits rural communities.

“When the goal is to expand existing businesses or attract new ones to the state, infrastructure must be at the center of that discussion,” said MDARD Director Gordon Wenk. “Things like broadband internet access, wastewater treatment, roads, technology, and modern utilities are essential for business today, and these grants help make it possible. We strongly encourage public input for our 2019 program priorities, as it helps direct funds to where it will have the greatest impact.”

The department received 85 proposals with requests totaling more than $6.4 million. Of those, MDARD awarded the following 11 projects totaling $891,905; leveraging a match of $828,805:

  • City of Escanaba – $99,300. Replacement of aeration blowers for the city’s wastewater plant, resulting in expanded capacity and considerable savings for all area residents and businesses using the system.
  • Connect Nation, of Elk Rapids – $70,000. Conduct a regional analysis with Northeast Michigan Council of Governments on local policies, ordinances, and asset inventory for streamlining broadband infrastructure.
  • Food for Thought, of Honor – $88,000. Procurement of new equipment for value-added manufacturing to build institutional packaging capacity at its new Traverse City facility.
  • Indian Summer Cooperative Inc., of Ludington, $100,000. Conduct facility wastewater system upgrades to meet production needs for fruit juices and sauces.
  • Marquette County Road Commission – $100,000. Conduct preliminary engineering for reconstruction of CR492 to improve safety and provide a more reliable route for the mining and forestry industries.
  • Michigan Blueberry Commission, of Fennville – $99,300. Infrastructure investment for modern blueberry planting for research, supporting the expansion and sustainability of blueberry growers.
  • Negaunee Township, of Marquette – $100,000. Expansion of the Township’s existing water system to provide services to properties along the south side of US-41.
  • PM Power Group Inc., of White Pine – $100,000.Create a pilot program to determine final costs to process and remediate stamp sands in White Pine.
  • Village of L’Anse – $45,000. Construct a community solar array for the Village’s municipal electric utility.
  • Village of Newberry – $55,305. Enhance and upgrade the Village’s financial software to a new integrated financial management system.
  • Village of Pentwater – $35,000. Conduct planning, design, and improve critical street, parking walking, and biking facilities utilizing Michigan’s “Complete Streets” approach.

The grant funds, Public Act 411 of 2012, are aimed to promote the sustainability of land-based industries (food and agriculture; forestry; mining, oil and gas production; and tourism) and support workforce training, rural capacity building, business development and infrastructure that benefits rural communities.

Eligible counties include those with a population no greater than 60,000 residents or micropolitan statistical areas. Preference was given to projects in Marquette County.

The proposals were evaluated through a competitive process. Those interested in additional information about this grant program or a complete list of eligible counties should visit www.michigan.gov/mdardgrants.

Public comments regarding program priorities for 2019 are now being accepted. Comments must be submitted to mda-grants@michigan.gov by 5:00 p.m. on May 22, 2018.


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