County Helps SPARK with Federal Grant

Washtenaw County is applying for a $940,000 federal grant on behalf of Ann Arbor SPARK, the local economic development agency. Funds would be used to help redevelop the former General Motors Willow Run Powertrain plant in Ypsilanti Township for use as a connected vehicle testing facility.

The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant is available through the National Infrastructure Investments Program of the U.S. Department of Transportation. SPARK asked that the county’s office of community & economic development (OCED) act as the lead applicant and fiscal agent. OCED already submitted the grant application – on April 25, 2014. According to a staff memo, “due to the grant application deadline, it was not possible to bring the matter before the [board of commissioners] for approval prior to application submission.”

At its May 21, 2014 meeting, the county board of commissioners took an initial vote to authorize the county’s involvement, with final action expected on June 4. The project is a partnership with SPARK, the University of Michigan, the redevelopment firm Walbridge Aldinger and Ypsilanti Township, among others. According to a staff memo, the facility could lead to the creation of up to 7,800 new jobs in the skilled trades and research sectors. [.pdf of staff memo and resolution]

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