City receives $7.7 million in federal stimulus money

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – The city will receive $7.7 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funding to alleviate blight, acquire and rehabilitate homes, and increase land bank capacity, officials recently announced.

Wyandotte was among a dozen Michigan communities out of hundreds that applied to receive a share of the $220 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds designed to address the housing crisis.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-13th District) was at the City Council meeting Monday to present a symbolic check to Mayor Joseph Peterson and city officials.

“These funds will help stabilize and strengthen neighborhoods, create jobs and stimulate the economy,” Kilpatrick said in a statement. “I will continue working with the Obama administration and my colleagues to ensure that families and neighborhoods in the 13th Congressional District and Michigan get the services and resources we need.”

Kilpatrick is Michigan’s only member of the House Appropriations Committee and also is a member of its Defense and Transportation/Housing and Urban Development subcommittees.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is providing the funds to address the issue of abandoned and foreclosed homes in neighborhoods, targets cities most affected by the loss of manufacturing employment, along with elevated foreclosure rates, limited access to household and credit markets and a decreasing populations.

Other Michigan cities receiving funding under the grant include Detroit, Highland Park, Hamtramck, Flint, Saginaw, Pontiac, Lansing, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and Benton Harbor.

The funds will be distributed to Michigan from HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which provides emergency assistance to state and local governments to stabilize neighborhoods and stem the decline of housing values.

Peterson thanked Kilpatrick at Monday’s council meeting for her personal attention and willingness to assist city officials in applying for the grant, taking their phone calls and guiding them through the process.

“You do support your district, and you do work hard,” Peterson said at the Jan. 25 council meeting. “I can’t thank you enough, because I know how much I was on the phone with you. You come through for us, and I’m glad not only that you’re our congresswoman, I’m glad to be your friend.”

Kilpatrick said Peterson’s leadership made the difference.

“They received a lot of proposals — over 600 of them. Only 60 were able to receive the dollars, and I’m happy that Wyandotte is one of those.”