With so many people being forced to stay home over the course of the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s proven a popular time for home repairs.
Dovetailing nicely with is the announcement of the City of Mt. Pleasant neighborhood enhancement project, $90,000 in funds to be given away for home exterior improvement projects in the city.
Qualifying homes can receive a minimum of $1,000 toward exterior improvement projects. Funded projects can reach as high as $7,499 before triggering lien and pay back requirements.
These are not loans, but grants.
"The idea is to help the community improve their homes, their exteriors and how they look. And to help improve Mt. Pleasant. It’s kind of a beautification program," says Doug Lobsinger, assistant fire chief and lead on the project.
"This is not a loan. It’s more of a gift. That’s a pretty good incentive.
"It’s a pretty neat program. I can see it continuing on into the future."
The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) recently awarded Mt. Pleasant a $30,000 grant for home exterior improvements in the city’s westside neighborhoods.
Mt. Pleasant then contributed an additional $30,000 for westside improvements and another $30,000 for projects citywide.
Projects must be visible improvements to the home’s exterior, which could include everything from the sidewalks to the front porches, windows, roofs, and more.
For homes to qualify, they must be single-family, owner-occupied with up-to-date taxes; the household income must be at or below 120 percent the median income of Isabella County; have no outstanding code violations; and have no prior tax foreclosures on property within the city limits.
While $30,000 is available for homes throughout the city, the bulk of the funding is reserved for the westside. The MSHDA grant was for this particular neighborhood, and the city has kicked in an additional $30,000.
The grant defines the westside as bordered by the Chippewa River, Pickard Street, High Street, and the western city limits. Lobsinger says the area fit the parameters of the MSHDA grant because of its multiple parks and schools.
He also believes that the grants could become an annual occasion, allowing the city to focus on a different neighborhood each year.
"The westside is an older part of Mt. Pleasant with some rental units and we’re encouraging more owner-occupied properties there," Lobsinger says.
"Other neighborhoods are already being looked at. We’ll start on the westside but hope to continue the program all the way throughout the city."
Applications for the neighborhood enhancement project, which opened Wednesday, July 15, and close Saturday, Aug. 15, are available online.
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