GRAND RAPIDS, OCTOBER 5, 2016 – Three F&V clients – the City of Pinconning and the Villages of Breckenridge and Bloomingdale – were each awarded checks for at least a half million dollars last week from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) for much-needed improvements for their stormwater and wastewater infrastructure.
James Espinoza, a MEDC Community Assistance Team (CAT) specialist who announced the grant awards in Breckenridge and Pinconning, said nine grants were awarded statewide, totaling $7 million. Forty low-to-mod communities applied for the Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement (ICE) funds awarded on behalf of the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) through the Michigan Community Development Block Grant (CDBC) program.
The grants are intended to accelerate economic development and assist lower income communities to make improvements or upgrades to existing public infrastructure systems. Espinoza said the grant recipients had to have a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Espinoza noted that 60 percent of the applicants failed to have an approved CIP.
“This is a godsend for Pinconning and its residents,” said Bill Jasura, the city’s new manager. “Without this grant, it wouldn’t be financially feasible to make these necessary improvements.”
Pinconning Mayor Robert Hall said he was very thankful for the $500,000 check. It will be used for screw pump, motor and digester fixes and a new ultraviolet disinfection system at the 20-year-old WWTP plant.
“I don’t have words to describe getting this kind of money,” Hall said. “A lot of things needed to be fixed and it’s very expensive to replace.”
Breckenridge was awarded a $521,063 check to replace the main lift station, 5,000 feet of force main and slip lining sewer mains.
“This grant, and the project that we’re going to do, will wrap-up the sewer projects in Breckenridge,” said Village Manager Jeff Ostrander, who noted the Village had already spent $11.9 million on infrastructure improvements since 2009. “It literally makes everything brand new and is a key to our success for the next 50 years.”
Bloomingdale was awarded a $855,990 check for sanitary and storm sewer improvements.
“This grant will be beneficial to the residents and businesses of the greater Bloomingdale area,” said Tom Rock, village president. “We are very appreciative. This project could not happen without collaborative effort from groups like the Bloomingdale Public Schools, our engineering firm Fleis & VandenBrink, the MEDC, local residents and business.”
The Bloomingdale grant will go a long way toward paying for the $972,720 improvement project. The village went beyond the 10 percent local match, coming up with $107,000, and the Bloomingdale Public Schools pledged an additional $9,730.
More than a dozen residents, including staff and council members, along with legislators were on hand for all the brief check presentation ceremonies.
Two of the three communities were under Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) consent orders to fix their wastewater treatment facilities. Bloomingdale Village officials were not under any MDEQ mandates to make repairs, however, the village had a long history with infiltration in its sanitary sewer system.