By Charles Sercombe
It’s not all doom and gloom financial news at City Hall.
While the city manager and city council are busy trying to figure out how to close the gap on a $2 million budget shortfall, the Community & Economic Development Department has been given a $1 million booster shot.
Thanks to an EPA grant, the city’s CED can help fund future development projects. Some 60 percent out of the $1 million will be used as a revolving loan fund, meaning developers can borrow from it through low interest or no interest loans.
If the city chooses, 20 percent – or $200,000 – can be handed to developers as a grant.
The money can only be used to redevelop existing structures that are deemed derelict or simply not being used. The grant cannot be used to demolish structures.
CED Director Jason Friedmann said there are several buildings being looked at for possible redevelopment: the former Al Deeby Dodge site, the former Citizen office, the former Missant office and the former Shoppers World.
A company that will produce solar power energy devices is taking a serious look at reconverting the Deeby Dodge site.
A real estate company is looking at fixing up the former Citizen office, and a green technology company may take over the Missant site.
“In a small community where everything is already built out, almost every project we do is redevelopment and has some complication,” Friedmann said. “This funding can be accessed to push these projects over the edge and make them happen.”
This is the second EPA grant the city has received. Previously, the EPA awarded Hamtramck $400,000 to do assessment studies of sites being considered for redevelopment.
Friedmann said there is no time limit to use the funds.
(modeldmedia.com contributed to this report.)