Photo Courtesy of Consumer’s Energy Foundation
Big Rapids, Gaylord and Hart have won funding for various projects through the 2022 “Put Your Town on the Map Competition,” according to the Consumer’s Energy Foundation.
“Consumers Energy recognizes that Michigan’s small and rural towns may not have the same access as larger cities to resources to support projects in their communities,” said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumer’s Energy Foundation. “These winning projects will help transform and grow their communities, and we look forward to celebrating with them once the projects are complete.”
The winning projects include:
- Big Rapids – First place, $25,000: The Big Rapids Skatepark Project will give the city a modernized skatepark. Along with the skatepark’s development, Big Rapids is looking into expanding public art with skateable art, a graffiti wall, and unique sculptures.
- Gaylord – Second place, $15,000: Funding will be used for a three-block blighted alleyway, along with developing the Art in the Alley Way, which will connect the Gaylord Gateway Trailhead to Claude Shannon Park. Art in the Alley Way, according to the Consumer’s Energy Foundation, will be a year-round place for people to gather that supports street art exhibitions. This includes murals, a place to highlight local artists’ work, trash cans, lighting and benches.
- Hart – Third place, $10,000: With the goal of bringing more visitors to their downtown, Hart recently started an initiative called The Hart Project. The city is working to host a large art event, along with installing 25 murals by 2025 and building a 20-foot tin man sculpture holding a huge heart in downtown Hart.
The “Put Your Town on the Map Competition” started in 2019 as a way to reward ideas and provide funding for projects that are being developed in small towns. Communities with a population of up to 10,000 were eligible to apply.
Winners were chosen Wednesday by a panel of judges after officials from ten finalist communities made presentations at the 2022 Small Town and Rural Development Conference led by the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan.