Grand Renovations

September 7, 2022 - The City of Grand Ledge was awarded $1 million in grant funds from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) through their Revitalization and Placemaking Program (RAP) during today’s Michigan Strategic Fund board meeting. The City will leverage the grant funds as gap financing to support an estimated $3.9 million place-based, infrastructure project within the downtown Central Business District. The RAP initiative is aimed at supporting downtown businesses within the tourism, travel, and hospitality-related sectors that were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Grand Renovations for Downtown Grand Ledge (GRDGL) project will enhance the traditional downtown streetscape and public gathering spaces from Scott St. to Main St. and along W. River St., significantly improving amenities to bring enhanced walkability and four-season enjoyment to the downtown area.

Grand Ledge submitted the application in early June 2022, along with 185 other applicants, and was one of only ten communities that were awarded a maximum $1 million RAP grant for public space improvements. 

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“Today’s grants underscore our proactive investments in projects that promote population and tax revenue growth in our communities. These investments will help create vibrant places that attract and retain talent, add new housing options, enable business creation and attraction, and provide resources for Michigan citizens and communities. By putting federal funds to work to address the impacts of COVID-19, we are making a real impact on our families, our communities, and our small businesses. I will work with anyone to keep getting things done and growing our economy.” 

- Governor Witmer

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is tremendously proud to receive this funding from the MEDC. We accepted numerous impassioned letters of support from downtown businesses who are in support of this project. The DDA is keenly aware of the struggles downtown business owners faced, and still face, trying to stay afloat in a pandemic. This grant will allow us to bring to life first-class placemaking projects, that have been on our wish list for years. These vibrant projects are permanent amenities, designed specifically to bring more people downtown with enhanced public gathering spaces and encourage longer visits. 

-Bruce MacDowell, DDA Chair

With $1 million in RAP funding from the MEDC, the City can take projects we hoped to do someday and pull them into what we will actually complete in the next 2 years. The GRDGL will activate unutilized and underutilized spaces, as well as greatly improve the walkability downtown. These incredible efforts will better support downtown businesses, enrich visitors' experiences, and enhance exploration of our downtown for all pedestrians whether they explore on foot, bicycle, or by kayak.

-Keith Mulder, DDA Board Member and Mayor Pro-Tem

Improvement Areas & Progress

  • S. Bridge St. (Scott - Jefferson)

  • S. Bridge St. (Jefferson - River)

  • W. River St. (North of Bridge)

  • Island Park Entrance

  • Riverfront Park

  • N. Bridge St. (Front - Main)

Local Support

"As a frequent visitor to numerous downtown Grand Ledge businesses, I hear from business owners and patrons who are looking for ways to be more resilient and better withstand the lasting impacts of the pandemic. I give my highest recommendation for this development and ask the MEDC to strongly consider funding this worthy project."

- State Representative, Angela Witwer

"Since the pandemic began, we had to reduce the amount of indoor seating, and focus more on take out. Our new plan will allow for additional outdoor seating, that would greatly benefit from a rehabilitated street scape and a focus on placemaking."

- Owner, Flour Child Bakery and Café 

"During our most challenging, months, I remember being forced to temporarily close my doors, not knowing when or how I would be able to pay my staff. As the owner of EYES Optometry Boutique, please accept this letter as an acknowledgment of our full support of the City of Grand Ledge’s downtown revitalization project."

- Owner, EYES Optometry Boutique

"Our tenants’ [banquet hall, restaurant, hair salon, and bookstore] income was reduced substantially and our desire was to limit the stress to the tenants to be able to keep their businesses. A steady influx of customers across all four seasons will put us back on track for growth and job creation, ensuring the vibrancy and long-term success of picturesque downtown Grand Ledge for generations."

- Owner of 300 and 304 S. Bridge Street Commercial Buildings

"To date, we are still below our staffing levels and significantly below revenue levels prior to the pandemic. As the owner of Salon 219, please accept this letter as an acknowledgment of our full support of the City of Grand Ledge’s downtown revitalization project."

- Owner, Salon 219

"I spoke with many distraught couples who were in tears due to the complete disruption of their plans. Fortunately, we are coming back but we need help, and this is why this economic-driven project is so important."

- Owner, Bridge Street Wedding Chapel and Holmes Photography Studio

"This letter is to show our full support of the City’s proposed place-based infrastructure project to drive resounding economic activity in downtown Grand Ledge."

 - Owner, Eschtruth Enterprises, Inc. (Commercial Space Rentals)

"During our most challenging month, I remember receiving countless messages from members of the community, pleading for the re-opening of our theatre. Not only does Sun Theatre provide entertainment for the community, but more importantly, it provides the opportunity to relax and escape from reality, which is vital during these tough times."

- Owner, Sun Theatre

"During our most challenging months, I remember thinking my business is not going to make it and will cease to exist. We are coming back but we need help and this is why this economic-driven project is so important."

- Owner, The Salvage Yard Antiques

"We lost 68% of our revenue in 2020 due to inactivity. We also waived membership fees so that we could continue helping our more than 200 members but ease the burden of them paying for dues that year. In a typical year, we have 12 community events, and we were only able to host two (2) in 2020. A steady influx of customers across all four seasons will put us back on track for growth and job creation, ensuring the vibrancy and long-term success of picturesque downtown Grand Ledge for generations."

- Executive Director, Grand Ledge Chamber of Commerce

"As a business within the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry, in 2020 and 2021, our business suffered extreme harm as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. As a director of the Grand Ledge Opera House, please accept this letter as an acknowledgment of our full support of the City of Grand Ledge’s downtown revitalization project."

- Grand Ledge Opera House

"We are coming back but we need help and this is why this economic-driven project is so important. We applaud Grand Ledge for working to ensure the vibrancy and long-term success of picturesque downtown Grand Ledge for generations."

- Owner, Rising Star Studio of Dance Arts

"During our most challenging time, I remember zero income for months followed by limited hours and capacity limits. As the owner of the Log Jam, please accept this letter as an acknowledgment of our full support of the City of Grand Ledge’s downtown revitalization project."

- Owner, Log Jam

"During our most challenging months, I remember the struggles to maintain payroll and necessary business cash flow. Our business is open 12 months a year and we applaud the City for ensuring these new amenities will provide vibrant and abundant accommodations focused on pedestrians (our customers) in downtown Grand Ledge through the winter, spring, summer, and fall."

- Owner, MacDowell's Fireplace and Flower Shop

"The City of Grand Ledge has long prided itself on the unique natural resources in and around our downtown. But the real heroes are the travel, tourism, and hospitality businesses that make up more than 50% of industries in the core downtown. By successfully securing a RAP grant, the MEDC will support the City’s commitment to helping downtown businesses rebound from the impacts of COVID-19 by improving health and safety outcomes with a resilient project that will withstand future adversities and thrive."

- Mayor Thom Sowle and the Grand Ledge City Council