Traverse City Record-Eagle

January 27, 2010

State awards $17.4 million in grants

125 cities, villages, counties and townships get funds for jobs, energy and emissions

BY SHERI MCWHIRTER

BELLAIRE -- Chilly gusts often push through doors and windows in aged Jordan Township Hall on Mount Bliss Road in northern Antrim County.

Energy efficiency improvements might help seal off the cold, said Lucille Lercel, township clerk.

"It's an old building. I think it's more than 100 years old. It's kind of drafty," she said.

Jordan Township Hall could use improved insulation in the walls and new windows, Lercel said.

Township officials may consider applying for grant money for that work from Antrim County, she said, after the county received a $374,188 federal stimulus grant through Michigan's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program. The state awarded $17.4 million this week to 125 cities, villages, townships and counties as part of the program designed to create and retain jobs, save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Antrim's grant will cover energy audits and efficiency improvements at government facilities in Antrim, Kalkaska, Benzie and Wexford counties. Townships and municipalities in those counties can apply to Antrim County for funding, said Peter Garwood, county coordinator.

"If we're doing this all over the place, all over Michigan and the United States, we'll see a reduction in carbon emissions overall," he said.

Other areas also received a chunk of change.

Grand Traverse County received a $353,575 grant to use in partnership with Traverse City to improve lighting efficiency in nine city and county buildings. Additionally, several old boilers at the county's Civic Center will be replaced with new, efficient equipment that comes with a rooftop solar panel component to provide energy, said Dennis Aloia, county administrator.

Also, upgrades will be made at the city's wastewater treatment plant to improve waste processing efficiencies.

"It will save energy and it will save money. How much I can't tell you," said R. Ben Bifoss, city manager.

Finally, the community's climate action plan to reduce the area's carbon footprint will be continued by SEEDS, a local nonprofit ecological research and design firm that previously completed the region's baseline emissions inventory.

Grand Traverse County and Traverse City also received a $250,000 grant this week to overhaul area street, building and parking lot lighting on public property with light-emitting diodes. Traverse City Light & Power will take applications for that project, said Ed Rice, executive director.

Other grants

Other communities to receive state Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants, funded by federal stimulus dollars include:

Bellaire: $50,000
Charlevoix: $50,000
Charlevoix County: $128,707
Cheboygan County: $128,384
Emmet County: $153,672
Manistee County: $125,000
Missaukee County: $84,508

Source: Michigan DELEG