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Michigan Receives $223.9M for Neighborhood Revitalization

Michigan Receives $223.9M for Neighborhood Revitalization

By DAVID RUNK /Associated Press Writer

January 15, 2010

DETROIT (AP) — The federal government awarded Michigan $223.9 million on Thursday to help tear down blighted buildings and revitalize neighborhoods in a dozen cities including Detroit, Grand Rapids and Flint.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the money as part of $2 billion in Recovery Act funding to states, local governments and nonprofit housing developers.

Michigan’s proposal won it the largest single grant – 11 percent of the total awarded nationwide, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan said at a news conference with Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and dozens of other officials.

Some other states got more money in total, but it was in grants to several communities or groups that applied separately.

The money is to combat the effects of home foreclosures, vacancy and abandonment. Donovan said he hoped it would contribute to the recovery of what he described as a battered but improving U.S. housing market.

“Each of us knows recovery won’t happen overnight,” Donovan said.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority had applied for $290 million in federal money. Because it was awarded close to that amount, the state doesn’t expect to need major revisions to its spending plan.

“This is a really good day for Michigan,” Granholm said to cheers from the gathered officials and housing advocates.

Under the “New Michigan Urban Neighborhood” plan, money would be allocated to acquire and redevelop more than 6,000 foreclosed, abandoned and vacant properties in Michigan, demolish 2,500 structures and rehabilitate or build 1,500 homes.

“Vacant homes have a debilitating effect on neighborhoods and often lead to reduced property values, blight and neighborhood decay,” Donovan said in a statement. “This … will help stabilize hard-hit communities.”

Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Pontiac, Saginaw and Wyandotte also would be targeted for revitalization efforts.

Detroit will get about $40.8 million from the grant. Other estimated amounts were $25.1 million for Flint; $17.4 million each for Lansing and Saginaw; $15.5 million for Grand Rapids; $14.3 million for Kalamazoo; $13.9 million each for Benton Harbor, Hamtramck, Highland Park and Pontiac; and $7.7 million each for Battle Creek and Wyandotte. The rest will go for administration and oversight.

Associated Press Writer David N. Goodman contributed to this report.

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