The Public Gathering Spaces Initiative will award Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to eligible Units of General Local Government (UGLG) between $200,000 and $1,000,000. Eligible UGLGs will be required to provide a minimum of a 10% financial match based on the project’s total cost.
The Public Gathering Spaces Initiative funds improvements intended to increase usability, accessibility, and seasonality within new or existing community spaces on publicly owned property. By supporting the creation or expansion of public gathering spaces in low-and-moderate income (LMI) communities throughout Michigan, the Public Gathering Spaces Initiative will create and enhance recreational places that will allow residents to gather, relax, celebrate, and commemorate. The Public Gathering Spaces Initiative funds projects including, but not limited to, parks, town squares, playgrounds, amphitheaters, and farmer's markets.
The application window to apply is now closed.
Eligible applicants for the Community Development Block Grant Public Gathering Spaces Initiative will include non-entitlement small cities, townships, and villages with a population of less than 50,000 that are listed on the CDBG Low/Mod Income Community Customers and Project Areas list.
Eligible Applicants need to meet the Low-And-Moderate Income Area Benefit national objective, meaning that projects must demonstrate that the project benefits all residents within the LMI community. This benefit is also known as LMI Area Benefit (LMA) Projects. For more information regarding LMI Area Benefit Projects, please reference the Community Development Block Grant Funding Guide.
Questionsregarding the CDBG Public Gathering Spaces Initative can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Permanent infrastructure required for the successful creation and/or operation of a public gathering space such as utility infrastructure, playground equipment, public restrooms, drinking fountains, sidewalks, etc.
- Permanent amenities including, but not limited to, outdoor speaker systems, exterior heating systems, lighting, affixed tables, benches, pavilions, public art, etc.
- Universal Accessibility design elements that enable public spaces to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and create welcoming public spaces for residents of all abilities, such as, accessible playground equipment, modified restrooms, etc.
- Other permanent infrastructure or amenities, deemed eligible by HUD, necessary to support the accessibility and seasonality of a public gathering space
Frequently Asked Questions
How will MEDC be evaluating applications?
Applications will be evaluated and scored on a variety of factors, including but not limited to:
- Recent MEDC CDBG Grant Awards & Low-and-Moderate Income (LMI) Communities: In an effort to disperse funds widely across the State to LMI Communities, the MEDC is looking to prioritize applications from UGLGs that do not currently have an open Community Development Block Grant project with the MEDC (including projects under a Letter of Intent); however, having an open CDBG grant project with the MEDC does not automatically disqualify UGLGs seeking financial support. Additionally, UGLGs with a higher percentage of LMI residents will receive preference.
- Fit with community vision/priority/strategy: Competitive applicants will describe the location of the project, highlight the purpose and need of the proposed improvement and/or creation of the public gathering space, articulate who will benefit from the project, provide a detailed scope of the project, and articulate how the project aligns with the UGLG’s master plan (or other locally approved document).
- Fit with initiative priorities: The MEDC is looking to prioritize Public Gathering Spaces projects that address the seasonality and accessibility of new or existing public spaces across Michigan communities. Competitive applicants will identify how the scope of their project meets both objectives by provided specific and detailed examples.
- Community Benefit: Competitive applicants will be able to articulate how the creation and/or expansion of the Public Gathering Space benefits all residents by providing project specific examples.
- Project Maintenance & Promotion: Competitive applicants will be able to clearly articulate how the new and/or existing public gathering space will be physically and financially maintained if the UGLG was to receive financial support from the MEDC. Additionally, competitive applicants will be able to provide examples of marketing and promotion efforts that will be undertaken to ensure that the public space (if created) remains vibrant.
- Partnership and Resource Leveraging: Competitive applicants will articulate how they have leveraged outside funding sources to enable the project to come to fruition
Additional factors that may be considered include – but are not limited to – the total amount of funding requested by the applicant is consistent with the program guidelines, the application is consistent with the program guide, the project location is in a geographically disadvantaged area as defined by either a State Opportunity Zone or State HUBZone, the project demonstrates a high level of local financial support, the community’s status within the Redevelopment Ready Communities or Michigan Main Street program, the total square footage being activated, and any other factors deemed relevant by the MEDC.
What is the timeline for announcement of awardees?
- MEDC will announce a date range soon. Please stay tuned.
What are the Compliance and Reporting Requirements?
- An Applicant agrees to adhere to HUD, CDBG and MEDC rules, regulations and the Grant Administration Manual (GAM) policies, procedures and reporting requirements including Davis Bacon wages. In agreeing to this, the entity will ensure that all entities involved in completing the proposed project will also adhere to rules and regulations during grant administration. If an application is approved for funding, Public Gathering Places Initiative funding round – grantees must verify that they are willing to comply with all additional MEDC requirements, including but not limited to, marketing, promotions and reporting. A background check will be conducted on the applicant and staff managing the grant for the applicant. Additional terms and conditions related to these requirements will be defined in the final grant agreement.