6 big placemaking projects in rural Michigan each win $25K grants from state program

What’s happening: Eight placemaking projects intended to enhance the vibrancy and economic vitality of Michigan downtowns each received $25,000 grants from the state’s Main Street Vibrancy Grant Program. Each of the winning communities are participants in the state’s Michigan Main Street program, a statewide program that encourages economic development through the historic preservation of our traditional “Main Streets” and downtowns.

Who won: Six of the eight grant-winning placemaking projects can be found in Michigan’s more rural communities, with the remaining two projects happening in Detroit and Lansing. 

A Rogers City-inspired mural is planned in the downtown there, along with the installation of benches, bike racks, and repair stations.

In Grayling, officials will use the grant to purchase much-needed event equipment like picnic tables, pop-up canopies, patio umbrellas, and more, improving the experience of events like the twice-a-week farmers market and AuSable River Festival.

Blissfield plans to activate a vacant lot with outdoor lighting, furniture, and public art, and build two parklets within the social district there.

Downtown Howell’s new Wayfinding Signage Project will enhance walkability in the community, promoting local businesses and attractions.

A downtown Evart storefront will be renovated and redeveloped as a small business incubator and pop-up space for local entrepreneurs.

A mural project in downtown Adrian will create two new works of public art with the hopes of jumpstarting a larger mural project district-wide.

Why it’s important: “It is with heartfelt gratitude that the Blissfield Main Street Board wishes to thank Michigan Main Street for the 2023 Vibrancy Grant,” Blissfield DDA/Main Street Director Laura Nichols says in a statement. “We are celebrating Blissfield’s Bicentennial in 2024 and will use some of those Vibrancy dollars to create a mural and infill a vacant lot. This will make a gathering spot downtown for our citizens to use in our new social district. This grant allows us as a small rural community to do more than just maintain, it allows us to flourish. Michigan Main Street is helping to keep Blissfield beautiful, vibrant and relevant.”

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