The requests were made public at Thursday’s City Council Committee of the Whole meeting and were given to the office of Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s last Friday.
The state asked local governments to submit a list of projects that would be "shovel-ready," meaning designed and ready to begin construction within 90, 120 or 180 days. That requirement restricted the projects eligible for federal funding, which is why the city could request $2.2 million for the new Southside Community Center and not for a performing arts center. The state will likely select which projects to fund, or just release a set amount of money to each city, allowing each to choose which projects to fund.
In Lansing’s case, federal money could displace money already set aside for certain projects. In the case of the Southside Community Center, for example, if the federal dollars are awarded, the city can use the money that has been set aside to fund other projects, explained Randy Hannan, Mayor Virg Bernero’s spokesman.
Lansing’s list includes $700,000 for Frances Park, $900,000 for the expansion of the Gier Centers gym, $3.2 million for a new fire station and training center and a total of $12.75 million for repairing local and major roads in the city.
With portions of the list devoted to projects associated with the Lansing Economic Development Corp., the amount of funds requested isnt very clear. But EDC CEO Bob Trezise said that no federal money would reimburse developers.
Trezise’s department would, however, direct federal funds toward infrastructure for private developments, such as the Capitol Club Tower. The $2 million the city would like for that project would go toward redeveloping the riverfront near the project, which would enhance the appeal of the final product.
"Weve directed public infrastructure to where we have private investment," Trezise said.
Another EDC request is for money to seed a business incubator, where a certain area in the city — most likely downtown — would offer subsidized rental space for high-tech start-up companies.
By far the largest pot of money requested is for the ongoing combined sewer overflow project. With a $34.75 million price tag, federal funding could help lower residents’ sewer rates, which increase to pay for parts of the project.
The plan wasnt received well by all at last Thursdays Committee of the Whole meeting. Second Ward Councilwoman Sandy Allen was upset the project list wasnt given to Council until the day before it was going to be sent to the state.
"This is going to the Governors Office tomorrow? That doesnt give us opportunity for input," she said to Hannan.
But at Monday night’s Council meeting, At-Large Councilman Brian Jeffries presented his suggested additions to the project list to Finance Director Jerry Ambrose, which would clean up the General Motors Corp. site along Verlinden Avenue and another along Grand River Avenue.
Jeffries idea is to use the stimulus money to partner with GM to "green up" the old sites, which are contaminated and make them ready for development.
Referring to the automakers well-publicized money troubles, he said after the meeting, "If we dont do something like this, it wont ever get done."