By NIKKI YOUNK
IRON RIVER - Iron River was one of nine Michigan communities chosen to receive Downtown Infrastructure Grant (DIG) money from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) this year.
Nikki Younk/Daily News Photo
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) presented a $559,000 Downtown Infrastructure Grant (DIG) check to the city of Iron River on Friday. Grant funds will be put toward improvements on Genesee Street. Pictured on Genesee Street are, from left, Jennifer Tucker of the MEDC; Bill LaRock, city council member; Terry Tarsi, mayor; Perry Franzoi, city manager; State Representative Scott Dianda; Marty Fittante of State Senator Tom Casperson’s office; Ed Marcell, city council member; Robb Anderson, engineer with GEI Consultants; and Bob Black, director of the Iron County Chamber of Commerce.
The $559,000 grant will be put toward improvements on Genesee Street from River Avenue to M-189.
Construction is scheduled to start in mid-August.
Iron River City Manager Perry Franzoi said that improvements will include fixing the main water lines and service lines to individual businesses, repaving the street, and installing new sidewalks, curbs, gutters, LED street lights, and decorative planters.
"Basically, everything from building front to building front will be replaced," he said. "It will improve downtown and make it attractive."
State Representative Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, added that attractive downtown areas help spur economic growth.
"There are so many small towns in the western Upper Peninsula, like Iron River, that have beautiful, historic downtown areas that are attractive to start-up businesses," he said.
Other Michigan communities that received DIG money were the cities of Croswell, Grand Haven, Hart, Imlay City, South Haven, Tawas City, and the villages of Fowlerville and Lyons.
Jennifer Tucker of the MEDC said that a total of 43 Michigan communities applied for DIG money.
To be eligible for DIG, communities must be low to moderate income communities that do not receive funding directly from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In addition, communities' proposed projects must be located in traditional downtown areas, be completed within one year, and incorporate innovative design elements.
All communities that receive DIG money must contribute matching funds to their projects. Iron River will be contributing a local match of $245,000 to the Genesee Street project.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.