Monday evening I had the honor to join approximately 100 fellow participants, planners, partners, and stakeholders from throughout Greater Lansing at a kick-off meeting for the Mid-Michigan Program for Greater Sustainability at East Lansing’s Hannah Community Center. Partners in the program include the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, Lansing Area Economic Partnership, Michigan State University Land Policy Institute, Michigan Energy Options, the Michigan Fitness Foundation, Greater Lansing Housing Coalition, the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council, and CAM-TV.
The four-hour event showcased the nine sustainability projects that will be part of the three-year effort funded through a three million dollar grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and $5.2 million in local matching contributions. The nine projects as described in a handout prepared by the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission are:
- “A five-year comprehensive regional fair and affordable housing plan for the tri-county region.
- A regional affordable housing study.
- A community reinvestment fund to build capacity in the region for traditionally underserved and marginalized populations.
- Develop an energy audit study of build structures.
- Build capacity for a regional urban services management area.
- Promote a multi-faceted and prioritized green infrastructure system.
- Develop a sustainable corridor design portfolio using the 20 mile long Michigan Avenue/Grand River Avenue Corridor from the State Capitol to Webberville.
- Build capacity for complete streets planning and implementation.
- Create an online portal for sharing information, evaluating, and promoting sustainability.”
These nine projects will build the impetus for propelling Mid-Michigan into a thriving and sustainable metropolitan region that is inclusive and beneficial to all socio-economic and demographic populations within the Greater Lansing community. It is a very exciting prospect to consider and long-range planning project to participate in.
Other Rust Belt communities and organizations to receive sustainability grants from HUD in 2011 include the following:
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Binghamton, New York
- Erie County, Pennsylvania
- Freeport, Illinois
- Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, Pennsylvania
- Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, New York
- Northwest Michigan Council of Governments (Traverse City), Michigan
- Oak Park, Illinois
- Warren, Ohio
- Washtenaw County (Ann Arbor), Michigan