Marquette to receive Economic Development Assistance

The City of Marquette is in line to receive financial assistance to connect key portions of its downtown district.

Marquette is among eight Michigan cities selected to receive technical assistance with key economic development projects designed to attract and retain residents and employers.

Marquette, along with Cadillac, Detroit, Flint, Holland, Jackson, Kalamazoo, and Midland, will participate in PlacePlans, the Michigan Municipal League announced today. The eight cities were selected as part of a statewide application process.

PlacePlans is a joint effort between the League and Michigan State University to help communities design and plan for transformative placemaking projects. The PlacePlans are done with support from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and Governor Snyder’s MIplace Partnership.

Here is a description of the Marquette project: Baraga Avenue, though no longer separated physically from downtown by railroad lines, is still a barrier for pedestrian activity due to an uninviting streetscape and breaks in the city’s urban fabric. The Baraga Avenue Enhancement Project would develop a physical design plan to overcome these obstacles, designing for Marquette an interesting, walkable street that connects downtown with the lakefront while providing new opportunities for business investment.

This is the second round of the PlacePlans work. The first round concluded earlier this year and involved projects in Allegan, Alpena, Dearborn, and Sault Ste. Marie. Go here to view the press release about the initial PlacePlans work.

“We are extremely pleased to not only offer the PlacePlans assistance again, but to double the number of communities that will be involved,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and Executive Director of the Michigan Municipal League. “The League has long supported the concept of placemaking, which is creating communities where people want to live, work and enjoy. The PlacePlans actually create realistic, tangible designs to make placemaking possible.”

Gary Heidel, Chief Placemaking Officer for MSHDA, said the eight communities selected are from all areas of the state and the projects involved range from revitalizing a historic downtown block in Cadillac to transforming a key commercial corridor in Detroit.

“What I like best about these projects is that the passion and dedication already exists in these communities,” Heidel said. “What’s missing is a little bit of a kick-start to turn that potential into reality or to take work that is already underway to the next level. The design and technical assistance being provided through PlacePlans will give them that extra incentive and direction they need.”