Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has partnered with Flint in furthering its economic development and announced the investment of more than $4 million in state funds during a press conference at Mott Community College July 29.
Kettering University will receive $500,000 for fuel cell research and will share in another $50,000 for the development of a corridor linking Kettering to the downtown.
Speaking in the Mott Regional Tech Center, Gov. Granholm and Lt. Gov. John D. Cherry Jr. accepted a report from the community group working to address the needs of Genesee County and then responded with several items that state government was prepared to do immediately to assist the region.
"Last fall, I issued a challenge to this region: tell me what state government can do to help you jump-start your economy, improve your schools, and strengthen your health care system," Granholm said. "When a region shows the initiative to help itself, to reinvent itself, and to re-market itself as a magnet region - a place that wants and welcomes new jobs, new businesses, and new residents - this administration is on board 110 percent."
"This blueprint for action and change will help state government deliver the tools that this community needs to succeed," said Lt. Governor Cherry. "This is not a hand-out. The partnership we are announcing today will help the Flint region as it works toward ensuring a prosperous future."
Governor Granholm and Lt. Governor Cherry said that the state will immediately partner with the community in several ways, including:
- Shifting some special Medicaid funding payments from Hurley Medical Center to the Genesee Health Plan to increase access to health care for people who do not have insurance. The total available support would be approximately $3 million which would be available to maximize state and federal matching opportunities for community-based health care. The impact of this shift in funding would be to increase the current annual enrollment in the insurance plan from 2,000 to 7,000 members.
- Designating one Flint city school, Washington Elementary, to participate in the Governor's pilot initiative to provide comprehensive, targeted human resources to schools that have not made Adequate Yearly Progress under the federal "No Child Left Behind" educational standards. This initiative is designed as an intensive effort to help students and their families by having one-stop shopping for family assistance programs in the school building.
- Providing Kettering University $500,000 in funding for their Center for Fuel Cell Systems initiative. This funding will be used to match a federal grant to establish the center. The center will incubate new fuel cell technology research and jobs in Flint. High tech jobs are also high-skill and high-wage in nature, which will help propel Flint's economy.
- Setting aside a $500,000 Core Communities Fund grant from the MEDC to support redevelopment of the Buick City site. The grant will support engineering, design and infrastructure preparations that will jumpstart the nation's largest industrial Brownfield redevelopment project.
- Providing $150,000 from the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint to support grants to nonprofits engaged in economic development activities.
- Awarding $50,000 through MSHDA to the city for the planning of the Third Avenue redevelopment area. This will develop a plan using the Flint River to link the University of Michigan-Flint, Kettering University, and the downtown area with residential neighborhoods.
Earlier in the year, the state already acted on priorities outlined by community leaders. The City of Flint received an $800,305 loan from the MEDC to purchase vacant, inactive properties along Saginaw Street. The funds will help transfer ownership to private developers who will convert the buildings into loft-style apartments with commercial space at the street level.
Other priorities listed in the "Granholm Challenge" report will be reviewed by administration officials and community leaders to determine what can be accomplished through the new partnership between the state and the city.
"These tools are not hand-outs," Governor Granholm said. "The community came together to define their problems, propose solutions, and will continue to work on the issues that are challenges to this community. I am pleased that these first steps have been taken, and I look forward to a partnership with this community to improve the quality of life for this region's citizens."
(Governor's Press Release is at: http://www.michigan.gov/gov)
Kettering Contact: Patricia Mroczek