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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-669-6323.
The Michigan Saves program is in the beginning of its roll-out phase. Although Michigan communities themselves will not be the initial recipients of these low-interest rate loans, residential homeowners will benefit greatly. A summary of the program is found in the second titlted "Hghlights of the Michigan Saves Home Energy Loan Program" is at this link.
Michigan communities should become familiar with the program in order to provide guidance for their residents in develing "better places." Stay tuned for more information on this exciting program.
This post was by the Michigan Municipal League's Sue Jeffers. She can be reached at email@example.com.