County OKs Matching Funds for $3M Grant

At its Jan. 18, 2012 meeting, the Washtenaw county board of commissioners formally approved the acceptance of a three-year, $3 million grant recently awarded by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The approval included authorizing $65,000 in matching funds from the county’s housing contingency fund, and the hiring of a full-time management analyst.

HUD’s Community Challenge Planning Grant grant was awarded to support the Washtenaw County Sustainable Community project, which focuses on the Washtenaw Avenue corridor spanning Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Pittsfield Township and Ypsilanti Township. County administrator Verna McDaniel had announced news of the grant award at a Nov. 17, 2011 working session of the county board.

According to the grant application, the project focuses on “removing barriers to create a coordinated approach to expanding existing affordable and energy efficient housing options and connecting them to job centers and healthy food through an enhanced multi-modal transportation corridor.” It’s part of the Reimagining Washtenaw project, which has been underway for several years. The joint county/city of Ann Arbor office of community & economic development, led by Mary Jo Callan, is taking the lead on the project.

In addition to the county and four other jurisdictions, partners in the project include the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, Arts Alliance, Community Housing Alternatives, Eastern Michigan University, Food System Economic Partnership, Growing Hope, Habitat for Humanity, SEMCOG, Ann Arbor SPARK, University of Michigan Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute, Washtenaw Area Transportation Study, Washtenaw County Public Health, and the Ypsilanti Housing Commission.

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the Washtenaw County administration building at 220 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow: [link]