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December 05, 2004

Cool City, Not So Cool Use of Grant Money

I really reeled at the thought of our Cool Cities Grant being used essentially for the expenses of the Chamber of Commerce. So glad was I when it was reported in today's Record Eagle that the money has been withdrawn by the State of Michigan!

Our $100,000 grant would have gone to paying:

∙ $40,000 in rent and utilities (on behalf of whom?)
∙ $15,000 in furnishings (for whom?)
∙ $10,000 for creating a "business resource center" (meaning what?)
∙ $10,000 in technology and equipment purchases (for whose use?)
∙ $10,000 for construction finish work (oh, really?)
∙ $10,000 for creating a public art project (remember the last one?)
∙ $ 5,000 for marketing (marketing what?)

It seems to me that the $10,000 for a public art project is a bone tossed to the citizens of Traverse City in exchange for paying the expenses of the new Chamber building (which rents the land on which it stand for $1.00 year).

Here are other communities' uses of the Cool Cities Grant:

Saginaw: Redevelop two vacant buildings into 1st floor commercial & residential uses.

Kalamazoo: Move Smartshop, a unique metalworking school, gallery, and sculpture garden to a new location. The business community adjacent to the new location will add a clustering of gathering places, advancing mixed use, neighborhood intrinsic, pedestrian friendly development that enhances culture, community, and economic development.

Grand Rapids: The Avenue of the Arts Project includes the historic renovation of seven buildings, streetscape improvement along with creation of public art, murals, and development of 35 loft apartments.

Marquette: Project consists of groomed, refrigerated ice plaza, with a skating rink, warming house, walking/bike trail, and fountain, located near the heart of the city, and the site of a former parking lot and railroad trestle.

Sault Ste. Marie: Soo Theatre Project plans to restore and renovate the classic and historic Soo Theatre Complex to its original grandeur of the 1930s.

Our original use of the Cool Cities Grant is tantamount to giving it to the Cherry Festival for their new offices … perhaps some new office equipment, furniture, or outdoor sprinkler system. Or maybe give it to Bart's Texas Barbeque on the ground floor of the Parking Structure, since it is having a difficult time paying rent to the DDA. Oh yes, that's right … they received some sort of special payment consideration at the last City Commission meeting.

So uncool.

Posted by Gadflygirl at December 5, 2004 06:02 AM


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