With the support of the Michigan Bureau of Energy Systems and the Michigan Recovery Office, the League has developed a searchable database of Green Communities Projects in Michigan. Projects are categorized by type of project, type of government, population and geographic region. The database is also keyword searchable. This is intended to be a resource for community leaders to compare themselves to their peers in other communities and learn more about what others are doing. We know that many more projects exist throughout the state and the current database is just scratching the surface, so please contact Luke Forrest, Project Coordinator with the Green Communities Challenge, with more information about what's happening in your community.
The new year brought with it a number of new funding and technical assistance opportunities for communities looking to strengthen their 21st Century assets and/or take strides in the Green Communities Challenge. Information about each opportunity is linked below. Contact Luke Forrest, MML Project Coordinator, for more information or support at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-669-6323.
The Environmental Protection Agency created the Sustainable Building Blocks Program to provide targeted technical assistance to communities looking to "implement development approaches that protect the environment, improve public health, create jobs, expand economic opportunity and improve overall quality of life." Tools used as part of this program will include "zoning code reviews, walkability assessments, parking policy analysis, climate action planning, commuter benefits, complete streets and fiscal and economic tools." Submit a letter of interest by FEBRUARY 23 to enter a competition to receive technical assistance through this program.
For communities in metro Detroit only, the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office is soliciting proposals for municipal energy efficiency or renewable energy projects. The deadline for these grants has been extended to FEBRUARY 24. Communities chosen for funding will be required to join the Energy Office through a formal participation agreement and contribute to the organization's endowment fund once the project is complete. See the application form for more details.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is offering grants of up to three million dollars for acquisition or stewardship of sensitive coastal land through the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program. Proposals are due MARCH 4, see the RFP for more information.
Food company Green Giant will be awarding $25,000 each to four people in recognition of their efforts to make their community greener and to help expand on existing initiatives. Eligible applicants include elected or appointed officials, business owners and community organizers. Applications are due MARCH 6 at www.thegreenawards.com.
Finally, the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth is offering low-interest loans of up to $2,500,000 for energy projects through September 2011. A previous blog entry contains more details.
Although most of the energy grant opportunities associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have closed, cities and villages can still take advantage of low-interest loans to implement projects on their energy wish lists. Through September 30, 2011, the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth is offering loans to cities and villages to implement energy efficiency and/or renewable energy projects on municipal property. Loan amounts may range from $100,000 to $2,500,000 and can be used to cover supplies, materials and equipment.
If your community has identified energy-saving improvements that were not funded under previous grant cycles, this may be a perfect opportunity to continue the momentum of local green initiatives, an important asset for 21st Century Communities. In addition, activities undertaken as part of this loan program will earn your community points as part of the Green Communities Challenge. Download the loan application to learn more.
Luke Forrest is Project Coordinator for the Center for 21st Century Communities. Contact him at email@example.com or 734-669-6323.
The Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth recently announced an opportunity for communities with fewer than 35,000 residents to participate in the BetterBuildings for Michigan program. BetterBuildings is an initiative targeted at upgrading the energy efficiency of private homes. The State and its partner organizations will coordinate a team of contractors who will go door-to-door within selected neighborhoods, offering home energy audits and then presenting financing options for improvements. They are looking for up to nine additional communities to participate. Local governments selected will receive grants of $157,500 for local outreach and marketing of the program as well as for some program administration. An individual government may be awarded more than one grant to support multiple neighborhoods within its borders. Local and regional partnerships and related energy initiatives will be a key criteria for selection.
See the State RFP for more details. Applications are due November 19. League staff has been involved in the development of this program and is available to answer questions you may have as you consider applying, particularly questions related to the contractor and financing support network in your region. Contact Luke Forrest by email or by calling 734-669-6323.