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Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Calumet VillageDDA executive director Leah Polzien discussed an available MEDC grant that would provide $300,000 for the green space where the farmer’s market takes place, though she did not provide details of what the space plans include.

CALUMET – Leah Polzien, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and chairwoman of Main Street Calumet, presented a DDA report to the village council at its regular meeting on Tuesday, in which she discussed the possibility of an application from a Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) Public Gathering Spaces Initiative grant for vacant back-to-back lots on Fifth and Sixth Streets, commonly referred to as green spaces.

“This is a minimum grant of $200,000, and it comes with a 10% cash-only requirement,” said Polzien, “which is great,” adding that the grant allows the DDA to achieve some leverage.

Polzien said that for the past two years, the DDA has been trying to come up with a plan for what to do with the two lots, one of which is located between the Calumet Theater and Shute’s Saloon on Sixth Street. National Park Service architect Steve DeLong, she said, drew up a plan for the DDA.

There was a public hearing on this in August 2020, she said, which was conducted externally due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, during which many contributions were collected from the public.

Since that time a number of trees have had to be removed and have changed significantly, necessitating an overhaul of the theater grounds.

“Application is due April 15,” said Polzien, “and it’s no small application.”

It’s a CBDG-like application like the fronting grant, she said, which means there’s a lot of information to gather.

Polzien said the DDA had budgeted $10,000 for the match, half the required amount. For the rest, she asked if the council would consider contributing revenue from the insurance settlement of the Evergreen property which was destroyed by fire last spring.

“What I Was Thinking About” she says, “Council, do we have this insurance money coming in, if the village collects the Evergreen insurance settlement.”

It’s about $20,000 that the insurance company offers, she says.

“What I’m suggesting is that we take that money, pool it with the $10,000 from the DDA and put it into this project,” she says.

A total grant of $300,000 for this space sounds almost ridiculous, she admitted, but, in reality, it doesn’t go very far, she added.

A director asked Polzien how much of the funding would go to planning versus how much would go to actual construction.

Polzien said that while DeLong creates a concept design for the DDA, he also has fairly detailed cost estimates. From there, the DDA will have to have the details and the construction drawings done, but they did not have a budget for this, but these costs would be included in the grant.

Administrator Andrew Ranville said he would like the green space project to be completed as it has had a positive economic impact on the village and the vendors at the Farmer’s Market.

Administrator Ken Olkkonen supported the idea, he said, because he saw the success of the farmer’s market in this space and the market generated a storefront. Polzien said the village could expect additional storefronts in the future.

“I’ll just say that,” she says.

Village Chairman Rob Tarvis said the funding to repair the roof of the Evergreen building years ago came from the DDA, so he felt the insurance settlement belonged to the DDA.

Village chairman Rob Tarvis said that to meet the April 15 application deadline, council will need to schedule a special meeting before that time so that trustees can vote on whether to approve permission to apply. the grant.

Because of the short timeframe for DDA and the village to complete the application, the village agreed to accept the insurance company’s settlement and return it to DDA to apply for the grant.

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