On Tuesday Feb. 25, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) released a memo detailing a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Public Facilities grant agreement in the amount of $2,209,430 which will help fund the East Jordan Joining Jordan Project.
The City of East Jordan is requesting $2,209,430 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for public facilities improvements for the Joining Jordan Project located in Charlevoix County, Michigan.
The City anticipates that this project will result in increased private investment within the downtown because of the enhanced connection to the east and west portions of the downtown district.
This project will provide services and opportunities to members of the entire community of which 51% are considered low-to-moderate income in status.
Additionally, the project will also benefit by providing safe access to Lake Charlevoix and increasing pedestrian traffic throughout this commercial business district.
In late 2017 the East Jordan Downtown Development Authority (DDA) began a sub-planning process to assess needs and create a consolidated Waterfront Sub-area Plan within the DDA district.
The planning process included significant public input and work sessions to identify the connectivity of the east and western portions of the district as a high priority.
To accomplish this goal, the DDA set a priority to improve pedestrian and multi-modal connections from the east side of town with the intent of increasing development potential on the west side of town.
Additionally, improvements would allow for improved access to Lake Charlevoix.
To accommodate future goals for this corridor, the DDA took action to decommission and relocate the City’s existing boat launch on the west side of Lake Charlevoix.
Adjacent to the M-32 bridge, this move opened prime real estate within the DDA for redevelopment.
With significant gain in open space along the lake front, the DDA will utilize a portion of the space to create a public waterfront pocket park to anchor the west side of Lake Charlevoix and the Jordan River.
The pocket park will enhance public recreation areas for low-to-moderate income households.
The remaining property in conjunction with this project, once occupied with vehicle and trailer parking, will be available and marked as a priority redevelopment site with the City’s partnership of MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities program.
Physical construction will create a new public waterfront park with boardwalk, an elevated pedestrian bridge with pavilions and streetscape improvements to integrate the proposed project into the existing City infrastructure.
Redevelopment of this corridor will reallocate the existing three vehicle lanes into two vehicle lanes with adjacent bicycle lanes.
Additionally, the M-32 bridge will receive decorative railings and new lighting to match that of the existing downtown streetscape.
Local contribution from the City of East Jordan will fund both contractual work from the City’s engineering team, as well as public infrastructure improvements necessary to accommodate this new effort into the existing City streetscape.
In its existing state, this corridor vastly limits access to non-motorized users of downtown East Jordan, Lake Charlevoix and presents significant safety concerns for bicyclists, walkers and vehicular circulation alike.
With the above improvements, public safety concerns will be greatly lessened and the opportunity for future private economic development projects are much more likely to take place.
Throughout many of our rural disadvantaged communities the primary method for transportation is a vehicle.
The Joining Jordan project will provide residents and visitors of the community with a safe, non-motorized connection to the entirety of the City benefiting those low-moderate-income residents who walk and bike to school, work or to recreate within the community.
Providing non-motorized transportation solutions to rural communities is a primary goal for northwest Michigan and is further supported by the City of East Jordan’s recreation plan.
Additionally, this project meets the goals and objectives of the CDBG program by both helping to attract new private development and/or businesses to the community for enhancement of the downtown and redevelopment assets adjacent to this project in a distressed community and through the development of a place-based project through financial support to create an attractive place to attract talent.
In order to garner the greatest benefit from economies of scale, the project in its entirety is best completed in one effort rather than through multiple, smaller projects, thus increasing cost and delaying future benefit from the City.
In the past six months East Jordan has invested in public improvements via a new water infrastructure system for the entire community.
Utilizing CDBG for financial support of this large-scale project proves a successful demonstration of the community’s capacity to implement goals
and garners the possibility of additional new investment throughout the City.
A 10 percent collaborative matched fund was assembled utilizing both City and DDA Capital resources.
In its totality, the community will provide $243,826 of the approximate $2.438 million-dollar total project costs.