City wins grants for downtown projectsdeb

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Mayor Richard Johnson recently received a letter last week notifying the City of Tecumseh of a Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) grant award of approximately $287,000. The grants are incentives for downtown property owners to rehabilitate second and third story levels of their buildings.

Tecumseh Economic Development Director Paula Holtz said property owners will receive $35,000 per unit developed. Part of the funding also goes to other costs associated with the process.

Two downtown property owners have made application for the funding. One is Dan Meikle, who plans to renovate the James Block 1894 Building (also known as the James Masonic building on the corner of Chicago Blvd.) into five residential units. Meikle purchased the building in March of this year and said that the work would also include rehabilitation of 50 windows and some façade renovation. Carpet on Wheels owners, Ed and Cheri Hall, plan to renovate two units on the upper level of their business, also on Chicago Blvd.

“We have a third party administrator for the project, called Revitalize, Inc. that used to be the housing director for the county program and has done this sort of thing before,” said Holtz. “Next week they will be meeting with us to begin the next step in the process, which will be things like engaging an architect to create blueprint drawings of these units, developing bid specs and going out to bid.”

She added that because the grant is federally funded, an environmental review process will have to be initiated before any money can be spent.

Creating more housing opportunities downtown can be a good thing, Holtz points out.

“We’ve had phenomenal feedback from other communities that have developed their downtowns this way, and it’s kind of a big deal,” said Holtz. “Adding residential units to the structures not only helps the property owners have extra income, but it also brings people downtown day and night. We have some apartments downtown, but adding these units will benefit our community by bringing more people downtown.”

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