LINCOLN - A half-million dollar community improvement project in downtown Lincoln is on hold until the Lincoln Village Council can prove to the Michigan Economic Development Corps that its proposal meets all necessary grant requirements.
Since looking into the possibility of getting a facade grant from the MEDC in fall 2011, the village has dealt with a series of personnel and state policy changes and other delays that have pushed the project back several months from the council's originally intended start date.
The project, which would involve exterior renovations of Cole's Appliance, Alcona Motors, Cozy Cabin, and The Old Bank, hinges on the council's ability to get a $257,785 facade grant from the MEDC and $289,785 in matching funds from said businesses. Village President Phil Jordan said the council is still preparing its pre-application paperwork.
"It's to change the appearance and update the outside of four buildings, and at the same time, they can use matching funds to bring some of the inside up to date as well," he said. "One of the problems is the state has changed a number of our contacts again. They keep getting promoted, which is good, and then some have left for other positions, and every time this happens, it puts us a step backward, and then we have to bring the new person up to speed and give them time to check everything out, and then by the time they get back to you, you're that much more behind."
Once the council completes its pre-application paperwork, a community action team will evaluate the coucil's plan to determine whether or not it meets all necessary grant requirements and then give permission to submit a formal grant application. Jordan said the Downtown Development Authority already has spent a "minimal" amount of money to make sure the village meets qualifications, and the council is prepared to see the project through to completion.
"I thought, honestly, that we would have been able to apply about September ... so we're just taking step by step," he said. "I think the facade project will make the biggest change in Lincoln. It will send a message that Lincoln is here for a long, long time, and I honestly believe that."
Andrew Westrope can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5693.