March 18 2013 12:00 AM

Tri-county area receives $3 million grant for sustainable communities planning

From left to right: Commission Director Sue Pigg, HUD Administrator Antonio Riley, Mayor Virg Bernero
Monday, Nov. 21 — The redevelopment of Michigan Avenue and Grand River Avenue got a boost today from a $3 million federal grant.

Sue Pigg, executive director of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission said the money will be used for the Mid-Michigan Program for Greater Sustainability, which focuses on redeveloping the corridor, which stretches from the Capitol to Webberville. The commission, along with its partners, provided over $7 million in matching funds for the program, making it worth over $10 million.

The grant will be used to “engage the public, our communities, our agencies and organizations to work together to develop and implement our plans to improve the Lansing-Greater Lansing area” and will last for three years, Pigg said at a press conference.

Antonio Riley, the Midwest regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, announced the grant and presented a check this morning at the MSU Center for Community and Economic Development, 1615 E. Michigan Ave. Riley said the regional collaborative planning already in place made the Lansing proposal stick out and impressed HUD.

“All those kinds of things tell us that there is a much broader buy-in and we want to be encouraging that buy-in,” Riley said after the press conference. “(The grant is) really going to give the community as a region the resources they need to do a lot of the coordinative planning around housing, transportation and environmental issues. If it wasn’t for these grants, that would be a tax burden that falls on the local tax payers.”

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said the grant money would allow the region to plan better watershed management, green infrastructure, transportation planning, affordable housing and increase regional cooperation.

“I think that the go-it-alone philosophy is coming to an end,” Bernero said at the press conference. “Regional cooperation and planning will largely determine our future economic success. This is proof positive that when we all pull in the same direction there is nothing that we can’t achieve.”

Riley will travel to Ann Arbor later today to present a grant award to the city for its sustainability plan. The Lansing plan and Ann Arbor plan were the only Michigan proposals that received a grant this year, Riley said. About $100 million in grants will be awarded across the country today.