Chelsea firehouse, Ypsi mobility testing ground, Dexter community center, and more get federal funds

Several important Washtenaw County projects are getting a financial leg up after recently receiving federal funding under the Community Project Funding (CPF) system. 

CPF grants were first introduced to provide investment in a wide variety of projects such as housing, homelessness prevention, workforce training, public facilities, parks, resilience planning, and other critical infrastructure and services. Recipients are selected through a congressionally-directed application process. 

The projects that received funding in Washtenaw County are:
  • An upgrade of pedestrian signals at high-volume crossings in Ann Arbor (awarded $2.15 million)
  • A rebuild of the Chelsea Area Fire Authority's facility (awarded $5 million)
  • Upgrades to the Milan Senior Center (awarded $360,000)
  • Rehabilitation of the Saline Wastewater Treatment Plant (awarded $5 million)
  • Construction of a multi-generation community center in Dexter (awarded $5 million)
  • Improvements to Manchester's wastewater treatment plant (awarded $5.2 million)
  • Reconstruction of Hewitt Road in Ypsilanti Township to add bike lanes and sidewalk facilities (awarded $1 million)
  • Infrastructure improvements at the American Center for Mobility (ACM) in Ypsilanti Township (awarded $2 million)

Emphasizing the importance of community insights and partnerships when determining what "people want [her] to fight for," U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell says she requested funding for eight county-based projects after conversations with the people behind each application. 

"When I got elected, and when we were redistricted, the first thing I did was to go to every one of the cities that are in my districts and understand what their needs are and where I can help," Dingell says. "I work with each city [and say,] 'What's your biggest priority? How do we do it?'"

Dingell says she understood ACM's value to Ypsilanti Township when the mobility technology development center was first being established. The CPF money will allow the township and ACM to develop its technology park and continue to build out its ecosystem.

Meanwhile, in Dexter, CPF funds will be focused on creating community space. Every other week, Dingell heads to Dexter for forums and meetings. She says a common gathering place is a building that the Dexter Community School District seeks to turn into the Dexter Multi-Generational Community Center. 

"This would be a multi-purpose community center that would service seniors, but also have young people involved," Dingell explains. "It would really keep the community connected, and in a primarily rural area."

The Chelsea Area Fire Authority Facility Rebuild is another project that was notable to her, due to its potential impact. 

"Firefighters and police are the first line when there's an emergency or crisis," Dingell says. "We need to make sure we're keeping them strong and supporting them."

She met with Chelsea's mayor, fire chief, and others about the need for funds to rebuild the current fire station. Built in 1963, it's in desperate need of repair and upgrade.

Chelsea Area Fire Authority Fire Chief Robert Arbini says he's grateful for the funds, which will most likely be used to purchase land for a new building. 

"We were glad to make the cut, because this current station is in really bad shape and not working for us," Arbini says. "The money is coming at a time when we really need to move forward."

"When you have good police, fire, schools, and good government locked down, then your community is usually in a pretty good state," Arbini adds. "We're glad the funding reflects that."

Jaishree Drepaul is a writer and editor based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at

Photo courtesy of American Center for Mobility.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.