Zoo expansion, affordable housing and 27 more on list for share of $110M from Kent County – MLive.com

From an expansion of John Ball Zoo to loans for affordable housing projects, Kent County staff have outlined 29 projects they recommend for federal stimulus dollars. (MLive file photo)Joel Bissell | MLive.com
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – From an expansion of John Ball Zoo to loans for affordable housing projects, Kent County staff have outlined 29 projects they recommend to receive a cut of about $110 million in COVID-19 stimulus funding.
The list of projects, totalling about $120 million in funding recommendations, was unveiled to the public this week at a special Kent County Board of Commissioners meeting. The funds are from the county’s share of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
The projects were trimmed down from roughly 319 projects – largely from the community – submitted earlier this year and then narrowed down with public feedback, county leader input and an assessment of funding eligibility.
The 29 projects, outlined below, aren’t the final ones that will receive funding.
Over the next two weeks, Kent County commissioners will decide if there are any projects that should be cut or added to the list of 29 projects before a vote is taken on funding them. That vote is likely to happen at the board’s Dec. 1 meeting.
Below is a list of the projects recommended by county staff and the brief description the organizations submitted about them. Full details about each of the projects can be found in the catalog at https://kentcountyarpa.com/proposal-catalog/.
Kent County: Lead remediation – Paint, pipe and training — $3,800,000
A combination of three proposals. A revised description will be released within the next week or so, according to county officials.
Kent County: Medical Examiner Facility – $6,000,000
The Medical Examiner’s Office is mandated by State Statute to investigate reportable deaths, those that are sudden, unexpected, accidental, or violent. Additionally, the investigation of a death can be ordered by the County Prosecutor, Attorney General or by petition. Not all deaths investigated by the Medical examiner result in an autopsy. For over 30 years, the physical operations of the Medical Examiner’s Office have been located at the Spectrum Health – Blodgett Campus and the Health Department. Over the past several years, a number of facility challenges have been identified including: operational and administrative support fragmentation resulting from two geographic locations, crowded autopsy room, inefficient physical layout, and a family viewing area that does not accommodate family needs. With Spectrum – Blodgett lacking available space and the desire to fully accommodate a possible medical examiner facility expansion, the County has identified the need to construct a standalone County owned and operated Medical Examiner’s facility.
Kent County: Behavioral Health Crisis Center — $3,923,356
The Fiscal Year 2023 State of Michigan budget included a $5M allocation for this project. This additional funding will cover FY23, but the project is short $1.6M of non-public patient cost for FY24. Project Description: Kent County is launching a continuum of innovative crisis mental health and substance use disorder services to fill a critical community need. Too many people with urgent behavioral health needs cannot gain access to a psychiatric hospital and end up in emergency departments or a correctional facility. Patients can remain in these settings for days or even weeks, creating significant strain on emergency medical and law enforcement systems, which are not designed and frequently not compensated for managing behavioral health crises. Patients are also impacted: settings not designed for mental health treatment often generate added trauma and can make a crisis worse. Crisis services are clinically sound and cost-effective but are not generally funded by private insurance. Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU): The planned CSU is a secure, high intensity alternative to full psychiatric hospitalization, capable of providing involuntary treatment and accepting direct drop offs from law enforcement. Enabled by Public Act 402 of 2020, the CSU will be jointly operated by Network180 and Mercy Health St. Mary’s Hospital.
Kent County: Kent County Parks/Greenway — $10,000,000
A combination of two parks proposals. A revised description will be released within the next week or so, according to county officials.
Kent County Sheriff’s Office: School Safety Radio Network — $2,837,500
At the end of last year, all area superintendents, police chiefs, and the prosecutor convened to discuss school safety in the aftermath of our state’s own tragic school shooting in Oxford. Since the meeting, unfortunately, there have been several other school shootings, including one locally here at East Kentwood High School and, most notably, the incident at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, TX. Even before last year’s meeting, our agency had always done everything we could to ensure each school district within our jurisdiction received all of the law enforcement resources necessary to keep every student safe. However, since our meeting last year, we have increased our agency’s presence and communication within all of our public and non-public schools. We have listened to the concerns of school administrators, parents, and students. Based on everyone’s concerns, we have increased the frequency of our Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) training, implemented a countywide Rescue Task Force (RTF) to ensure all area first responders are prepared to respond to an active assailant incident, updated school site surveys, provided school security assessments, and initiated monthly meetings and training with school security and administrative staff. We’ve learned from these debriefings, along with many other agencies nationwide, that communication is consistently identified as the most significant point of failure. The inability of those affected by these incidents to provide law enforcement with timely, factual information has resulted in countless deaths. The lack of effective, timely communication between school administrators and law enforcement must be addressed to ensure there are no senseless deaths in our county. Before the deployment of our county’s 800 MHz radio system, we were solely reliant on 9-1-1 calls to receive information from school administrators, staff, parents, or students when there was a need for an immediate police response to an incident within a school. However, with the number of mobile devices within our schools and the ability to not only call 9-1-1 but to text 9-1-1, agencies across the country, including our own, have documented the failure of their 9-1-1 systems in handling critical incidents. The 9-1-1 system is simply overwhelmed with callers, many with outdated, unreliable, or third-party information about what is occurring. With the implementation of our county’s new 800 MHz system, we now have a more viable option to communicate with school administrative staff that is scalable to the needs of each district and will provide area law enforcement with critical, factual, and real-time information they need to respond and end school-related incidents. The proposed solution would be to deploy a network of 800 MHz radio consoles into every K-12 school building, which regularly houses students.
Kent County: Capital enhancements for facilities serving older adults — $500,000 to $1 million
A description was not immediately available.
Kent County: Kent County Homes Fund – $15 to $25 million
Revolving loan funds for affordable housing. A description for this late add to the list will be released within the next week or so, according to county officials.
Housing Next: Kent County Equitable Housing Initiative – $500,000
This project will both: 1) Work with statewide partners on a data driven approach to mapping current zoning to identify barriers to development and reforms at the local, regional, and state levels to address housing challenges 2) 2)Establish a grant fund to support local municipalities which are prepared to undertake amendments to their zoning ordinance, and which will allow for a greater variety of housing types, sizes, and price points in multiple neighborhoods. The mapping pilot would cover 3 counties with an overall cost of 99,000. To ensure that Kent County is included in the pilot program, 33,000 would allow us to partner on the effort. The University of Michigan alongside other stakeholder groups will be responsible for fundraising the rest of the funds with support of Housing Next. The County grant can cover up to 75% of the total consulting costs and legal fees for the work to prepare a zoning amendment, conduct community visioning and input sessions, and/or undertake local growth scenario planning. The County will grant up to $50,000 per municipality provided that the local community can pay for 25% of the total project cost. Housing Next will market both the mapping tool and the program as part of its ongoing mission to increase housing supply at all price points. Housing Next will be available as a community partner and supportive resource to assist with local market demographics, construction costs, financing mechanisms, and similar best practice resources.
The Diatribe: The Emory Arts and Culture Hub — $2,000,000
The Diatribe is a nonprofit organization that uses art as a catalyst to redefine, re-evaluate, and reach the world around us. The organization’s core programming has focused on school programs, assemblies, and creative writing workshops rooted in poetry. While this work continues to flourish, The Diatribe has grown with new programs and partnerships and seeks to expand its impact in the community. To that end, The Diatribe is planning to renovate an 18,342 square foot property located at 2040 Division S in the Burton Heights Business District. This new facility is well positioned to boost community and economic growth in this underinvested neighborhood of southeast Grand Rapids. It will serve as a creative hub for the district, hosting The Diatribe’s permanent home, affordable rental units for local artists, retail space for small business owners, and a performing arts venue that will attract local and national performers.
Amplify GR: Boston Square Community Hub — $4 to $6 million
As part of Boston Square Together, Amplify GR is planning to construct the Boston Square Community Hub, a two-story, 45,000 square foot multi-purpose community facility dedicated to enhancing the health and well-being of neighbors. The facility will include a 13,000 square foot health and wellness clinic operated by Spectrum Health, a 9,000 square foot early childhood center operated by the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative (ELNC), office and community programming space for Amplify GR, a coworking space to be operated by a bank partner (still in negotiation), a 240-person community event and performance space, a community café, and 6,000 square feet of wellness spaces (e.g., fitness classes, after school programming, and arts enrichment) to be offered by tenants that are still being finalized. For decades, neighbors have been asking for safe spaces to fellowship and gather as well as increased access to services and resources to reconcile social determinants of health and enhance their lived experiences. One of the most exciting aspects of the development is Spectrum Health’s Advanced Primary Care model which will focus on value-based outcomes, reducing use of high acuity levels of healthcare, and focusing on preventative tactics to improve the health of the area’s vulnerable population. This model prioritizes quality of care over quantity of patients served, which unduly burdens our healthcare system.
Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes: The Junior Achievement Free Enterprise Center: “Building Futures…Inspiring Dreams” – $1,000,000
JAMGL is establishing a new facility called the JA Free Enterprise Center in Grand Rapids, which will house three unique, state-of-the art learning labs. Trained volunteers will guide the student experience in the labs: • JA BizTown (5th – 6th Grade). Preceded by up to 20 in-school lessons, students learn how to run a town. Students experience the lab for a day working in their storefronts and living their lives as consumers, taxpayers, and citizens. All students earn a paycheck, purchase things, and vote to establish laws and elect a major. • JA Finance Park (8th – 12th Grade). Preceded by up to 20 in-school lessons, students visit the lab, are assigned a career, and visit storefronts representing aspects of their budget, which they must decide how to manage. Lessons cover: Career Exploration; Income and Taxes; Saving and Investing; Managing Risk; and Credit and Debt. • JA Entrepreneurship Incubator (10th – 12th Grade). Students participate in a signature business education leadership experience. Students will develop and run their own small businesses. This facility will also house the JA West Michigan Business Hall of Fame, a Spirit of Freedom Gallery and a volunteer training center to equip JA’s extensive volunteer network.
Feeding America West Michigan: Nourish Tomorrow Advancement Campaign – $2,500,000
The food bank estimates that, by moving into the Kentwood facility and expanding its programs and services, it can increase its distribution of nutritious food to West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula by 30% within five years and 50% overall. This plan has several components, none of which are possible in the current warehouse: Increase collaborative efforts between local charitable food organizations Encourage and model the incorporation of wraparound services into partner programs across West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula Expand targeted programs for children and seniors Expand nutrition-education programs Expand food-as medicine programs Utilize Mobile Food Pantries as a stop-gap measure while working to transform the fixed pantry system from the reactive, emergency model of the past to a sustainable, nutrition security model The food bank requests $5 million in grant funds from Kent County ARPA for the Nourish Tomorrow Advancement Campaign to renovate new spaces within its new facility, improve its programming through the use of those spaces, expand its food rescue and distribution capabilities, increase agency support, and build new community partnerships.
C-SNIP: Preventative Animal Control by Increasing Pet Owner Access to Veterinary Care – $1,000,000
CSNIP plans to expand our surgical capacity and range of veterinary services to transform access to veterinary care for local pet owners who can’t afford or obtain this care at the time their pet is in need. CSNIP veterinary care services for dogs and cats will include spay/neuter surgery, wellness/preventative care including vaccinations and disease testing, dental care, primary care with treatment for basic illnesses and injuries, and soft tissue surgery to prevent serious/life-threatening conditions. A larger facility will allow CSNIP to increase its patient capacities to serve 30,000 dogs and cats annually. This is a 50% increase over our 2021 service capacity and allow for additional future expansion. An larger and better equipped clinic allow expansion of CSNIP’s long-standing partnership with MSU-College of Vet Medicine as a field rotation site for its veterinary students. CSNIP’s project will assist the Kent County Sheriff Dept. with its animal control function by preventing many of the conditions that require the dispatch of an Animal Control Officer while providing them a resource to help pet owners needing veterinary care. CSNIP can also be a location for dog licensing, capturing revenue and data for the county. CSNIP’s increased spay/neuter capacity and veterinary care is a transformational prevention investment for Kent County, reducing shelter intakes due to overpopulation and/or pet surrenders because of pet illness or otherwise expensive veterinary care.
West Michigan Sports Commission: Meijer Sports Complex Expansion Campaign — $500,000 to $1 million
The WMSC is proposing an $11 million expansion and enhancement of the West Michigan Sports Complex to address opportunities that will increase visitor spending, expand girl-specific sport parity and accommodate a growing sport aimed at a higher percentage of senior participants. The proposed project includes the following:
A new championship girl’s fastpitch softball field for youth travel softball and collegiate softball. The field will feature artificial turf, grandstands, lighting, covered dugouts, and a press box. Two flexible-use diamond sports fields for youth travel softball and baseball as well as softball. The fields will have covered dugouts and bleachers. New stand-alone concession building. Standalone restroom facility. 12 new pickleball courts.
City of Wyoming: Wyoming City Center Bridge and Trail Activation – $6,000,000
The Wyoming City Center project is a multi-phased, public-private development that includes public investment in non-motorized infrastructure and private investment in a mixed-use development. The public investment will provide two new pedestrian bridges, 4.6 miles of new trails, and civic space. The private development will offer workforce housing, market rate housing, Class A commercial space, and office space. This project facilitates the safe crossing of M-11, which is known locally as 28th Street and is a state trunkline highway. The first phase of this project includes a pedestrian bridge that provides passage over 28th Street and 3.1 miles of new nonmotorized trails that create a linkage to regional destinations, including north to Grand Rapids and south to Byron Township. This project addresses long-standing inequities in the community by creating new non-motorized trail connections between underserved neighborhoods in a qualified census tract and city greenspaces, employment destinations, schools, and daily amenities. It also revitalizes an aged and largely vacant commercial corridor and satisfies a priority of the community by delivering a downtown center while providing much needed affordable and market rate housing units. The City of Wyoming is requesting $10 million to invest in this transformative public infrastructure project.
Kent County Youth Agricultural Association: The Grand Agricultural Center of West Michigan, Raising Barns, Building Youth Campaign – $5,000,000
The Grand is a $37 million campaign repurposing a former golf course into a multi-purpose public space and premier youth, family, and visitor entertainment and educational venue with agriculture, arts, and cultural opportunities. It will include a campground with amenities and regional trailway connections for pedestrians and equestrians. This quality-of-life improvement will reach a broad, diverse audience with hands-on agricultural learning opportunities through year-round events and expanded programming. Phase 2 building priorities will get the fair onsite by August 2023. This phase kicked off in early 2020 and the very next week, Covid shut down the entire state. Our first year was spent building relationships, hosting on-site tours and sharing our vision as we engaged cautious donors in an historically uncertain time. Through hard work and diligence, we have raised over $13.1 million to date. Capturing the hearts of our community, The Grand has developed into a remarkable public and private partnership with local and regional donors, state, and federal funds secured. The KCYAA requests ARPA funding from Kent County in the amount of $11.3 million dollars for four key aspects critical to expanding our mission beyond the fair. • $300,000 for capacity building staff for fundraising and program development • $3 Million for the campground with bath houses and amenities • $3 Million for sitework including trailway connections • $5 Million for the Indoor Exhibition Arena
John Ball Zoo: John Ball Zoo Expansion & Park Amenities — $6 to $10 million
This expansion would include the addition of a giraffe habitat along with three other African species, infrastructure and pathways to support the exhibits, restrooms, and small café. One of the most popular megafauna animals, giraffes are a highly active and visible animal and an incredible draw. Giraffes offer major cultural and education opportunities, interactive feeding, and future options for multi-species habitats with the potential to bring added economic impact to the region alongside visitor enjoyment. The surrounding park is open to all visitors, free of admission. Enhancing these greenspaces provides more public options for enjoying recreation and quiet space for families, friends, and individuals. Expanding current surface parking, rerouting flow of traffic, and enhancing park amenities would support the Zoo’s ability to be good steward of our environment and good neighbor to the business community and its residents. Park improvements include: • Sculpture gardens • Victorian gardens, fountain • Biking/walking pathways • Bike stations • Picnic pavilion • Restrooms • Band shell • Sport courts • Stormwater system • Parking expansion
Grand Rapids Public Museum: Grand Rapids Public Museum West Entry and Gathering Space — $1,000,000
The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) currently sees over 360,000 visitors per year through ticketed admissions, events and rentals. Demand for the exhibitions and programs the Museum offers is high, with capacities tested frequently. An intuitive, welcoming point of entry is key to the Museum serving more people in the community in the most accessible way. The GRPM will complete a capital project to create a new grand entrance for the public and an interactive space for school groups. The entrance will be fully accessible and built with universal design to welcome the public. The redesign will convert the current drive through drop off into usable space that welcomes large groups and allows the public to flow past unimpeded. The primary function of the space is creating room for groups to gather, facilitate lunches and act as a home base for them for the day. When not used by school groups, this space can be used by Museum guests and rental events, including weddings, showers, birthday parties, private parties and corporate events. Technology will be an integral part of the experience in this space, providing easy wayfinding as well as becoming part of the educational experience for school groups.
Domestic Violence Community Coordinated Response Team: Kent County Domestic Violence Action Network — $4,000,000
The Domestic Violence Action Network is being proposed by the long-standing DVCCRT to address the need for increased survivor centered systems response and the opportunity to initiate infrastructure to support collective impact strategy for equitable change. The proposed project would recognize dv as a public health crisis addressed with a Collective Impact Theory to drive inclusive and trauma informed solutions. This transformative project addresses and prevents a critical element of violent crime that impacts community health, the economy, and equity. Using this framework, we will launch the DVCCRT as a backbone organization with a common agenda, continuous communication for shared learning, a measurement system to track progress for equitable and sustainable change, mutually reinforcing activities will be implemented through an enhanced resourced framework to address the complexity of dv. Activities like the creation of a DV Court with Coordinated Systems Response would be transformational because it will address DV case complexity and the multiple systems a victim and perpetrator interact with. This proposal would also increase critical services for victims and survivors with mobile and legal advocacy, mental health support and wellness resources. Multiple sectors would also be resourced with culturally based and trauma informed training. The proposed project will execute critical solutions to empower survivors and disrupt violence resulting in community transformation.
Kent County Road Commission: Transforming Kent County’s Road Network — $3 to $6 million
High quality roads have a transformative impact because they are crucial to providing safe and efficient access to serve the daily needs of county residents and the economic prosperity of the region, thus combining long-term investment with an immediate return. $10 million would translate to 32 lane miles of full depth resurfacing on 11 high-volume, geographically diverse primary roads: 17 Mile Rd, US131 to City Limit Belmont Ave, Jupiter Ave to Post Dr 4 Mile Rd, West River Dr to Alpine Ave Hunsberger Ave, Plainfield Ave to Airway St Pettis Ave, 3 Mile Rd to 5 Mile Rd Vergennes St, Alden Nash Ave to Flat River Dr Alden Nash Ave, Foreman St to Vergennes St Reeds Lake Blvd, Hall St to City Limit Kraft Ave, Broadmoor Ave (M-37) to 60th St Patterson Ave, 36th St Intersection Eastern Ave, 84th St to 68th St Another $10 million would help sustain the township cost-sharing program, leveraging $20 million in overall local road investment. Collaboration and data-driven improvement plans have generated steady increases in township investment, with 20 of 21 townships participating in a $16 million program in 2022. Three years of reduced revenue combined with escalating costs have challenged KCRC’s ability to match townships’ growing demand.
United Methodist Community House 900 – $500,000 to $1 million
UMCH is developing a $32 million project on South Division aimed at improving services targeted for older adults and very young children. This project will include 46 affordable senior housing units, a new 30,000sf senior activity center, 6 infant/toddler affordable childcare classrooms, an intergenerational center in collaboration with a local university, and an affordable fresh market. ARPA County funds will be used to purchase and pave property for up to 300 necessary parking space for the anticipated 400+ daily visitors to our facility plus residents. The project has been awarded Low Income Housing Tax Credits and 28 housing vouchers already. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was so impressed with this plan that they invested $1 million to serve as a catalyst for additional donors. This project will help lead to the economic and community transformation of the south Division corridor and beyond.
Grand Rapids Center for Community Transformation: Fuel the Movement: Innovative Workforce Development for Economic Mobility — $1,000,000
Fuel the Movement builds off the successful momentum GRCCT has cultivated over the past several years. With our founding partners (NAACP-GR, Grand Rapids Nehemiah Project, Building Bridges Professional Services, Rising Grinds Café, and Bethany Christian Services), a multi-purpose space, and neighborhood trust, we are well-positioned to implement tangible, results-oriented strategies that engage residents in opportunities that support individual economic mobility and communitywide inclusive growth. Fuel the Movement’s multipronged approach falls into two categories, each with a set of aligned strategies:
1. Workforce Development: creating 500 new job placements throughout Kent County by providing employment skills training; vocational training in construction, landscaping, and hospitality; developing career pipelines with at least 45 employers; and facilitating up to 20 innovative partnerships between employers and universities that connect people to training and jobs.
2. Supporting BIPOC businesses and entrepreneurs: providing capacity-building and technical assistance to entities in Kent County: a) training up to 20 businesses/nonprofits in the Entrepreneurial Operating System, a practical framework for optimizing all aspects of an organization. b) training up to 30 leaders of color through a two-year executive coaching process. c) offering space at GRCCT’s state-of-the-art event venue and commercial kitchen to uplift up to 25 minority/women-owned food companies; and host
West Michigan Construction Institute: West Michigan Construction Institute Phase II Expansion — $1,000,000
The WMCI is planning a 4,765 square foot expansion to its educational facility located at 801 Century Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 within the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood. This expansion will include two new construction education labs and an office for Institute staff. The labs will be used for hands-on instruction related to craft trades educational programs. When completed, the two education labs, combined with the three existing labs, will allow for specialty areas dedicated to craft trades. Currently, instructors must set up and tear down temporary worksites prior to and after classes. This limits the quality of instruction, creates a burden on instructors and students, and puts strain on the human resources of WMCI to serve its students and the West Michigan commercial construction industry. The expansion will provide for the following specialty education labs: Concrete/Masonry, Interior/Exterior Finishes, Plumbing, Electrical, and one flexible/multipurpose lab. Each of these careers are listed on West Michigan Works! “Hot Jobs List” as the highest-growing and most in-demand jobs in the region. The opportunity for individuals to build their skills and secure a wellpaying job within a period of months is open to anyone. These jobs pay between $18.83 to $26.03+ per hour, well above the per-capita income for Kent County.
West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Headquarters – $600,000 to $1.2 million
The WMHCC plans to establish a new headquarters within the Southwest side of the City of Grand Rapids. The organization will renovate a 17,000 square foot building located in Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood at 1111 Godfrey Ave SW. This new facility will be a home for the organization’s growing staff and serve as a hub where the Latinx entrepreneurial and professional community can access resources and support. The headquarters will provide space for workshops, educational programs, one-on-one consultations, and drop-in workspace. The facility will also include a commercial kitchen to facilitate community and business events within the space. The organization’s current facility limits its ability to serve local businesses and Latinx professionals. By building an expanded headquarters, the WMHCC will be able to accommodate its growing staff and expanding programming for the benefit of Latinx businesses and professionals in the West Michigan region. The proposed new headquarters will be transformational, both in terms of neighborhood impact and regional impact as detailed further below.
Wyoming Kentwood Chamber: SMB & Workforce development, support, and training – $100,000
Wyoming Kentwood Chamber of Commerce requests $138,000 to help our existing 350 local businesses and new businesses starting up by providing free business development & training resources over the next 4 years. Most of our members and new businesses are small businesses that need additional support to stay in business and navigate since the global pandemic. Funds would cover host events, venue, catering, materials, and presentation costs for a new monthly series over a four year period. TRAINING SERIES 2022-2026 Some of the topics for our new Lunch & Learn / Happy Hour Series include the following.
TOPICS: *Employee Mindset, Post Covid Workforce Mastermind *How to Re-Introduce Employees in a Post Covid Climate *Teleconferencing: How to Present Your Best *HR Benefits, Changes based on Covid Protocols *Mental Health Respite for Employees, Resources You Need to Know* *Employee Stress and Triggers, Notice and Reduce in the Workplace* *How to Advocate for Your Employees Mental Health* *Employee Retention. How to Create a Balanced Compromise. *Workplace Life Balance, Coaching for Success.* *Soft Skills, What You Should Know & How to Incorporate Them *Personal Presentation, Calming Anxiety and Nerves. Being Your Best, When You Do Not Want To. *Active Shooter Training For our SMB’s, disadvantaged, and women’s groups we will provide training, networking, and financial health and wellness workshops throughout the program.
We are requesting $34,500/ year to facilitate monthly class
Hispanic Center of West Michigan: Community, Economic and Workforce Development in Kent County’s Hispanic community — $1.5 to $2 million
Data and firsthand experience of providing direct services have shown that the need is there. The Latinx community needs access to capital to be able to be financially prosperous and improve their lives. Before deciding on which route to take with this project, we will bring in an external consultant to conduct an assessment on the current financial/economic landscape of our Latinx community in Kent County in order to make informed decisions and target investments where the need is greatest. The consulting firm(s) will meet and work with the leadership of a committee formed by community members, leaders, and business owners in order to include all stakeholders impacted by this project as part of the solution. From the results of that work, we will be able to identify whether we need a CDFI, micro loan programs, or another type of financial program or entity to remove the barriers from our Latinx individuals, families, and micro/small business to accessing capital. Then, a program model will be created to incorporate the identified solution to follow our holistic approach. This includes being able to connect those same people to culturally competent and linguistically appropriate trainings, certifications, career coaching, and financial coaching. This will ultimately increase the impact and success of the project because economic stability is a social determinant of health.
AYA Youth Collective: Live. Work. Thrive. — $2,000,000
Our proposal scales solutions to overcome the barriers that homeless youth face every day. This requires deep investment in housing, employment training and healthcare for youth experiencing homelessness. This trinity is essential as youth who’ve experienced complex trauma become compassionate, engaged neighbors in our county. We’re inviting you to invest in youth and experience how our collective efforts pay generational dividends. Affordable Housing Part 1: Mixeduse development (retail/housing/parking/green space) including 75 additional housing units divided between: (1) supportive housing for AYA youth and (2) affordable units to meet the ‘missing middle’ in Kent County. Part 2: Building/renovating an additional 8 duplexes for supportive housing – totaling a 32 youth units & 8 house mentor units. Employment AYA will provide on-demand jobs through our Bottle Redemption Initiative, a small business that provides a service and generates sustainable revenue. We’ll also invest in providing training and mentorship for youth employment in manufacturing & skilled trades as we continue supporting youth who need it most. Healthcare Publish and expand our proven Comprehensive Healthcare Initiative (CHI) to scale access to mental/physical healthcare for youth as a best practice for engaging vulnerable populations. Serve more youth throughout the county. More information including partnerships, a financial overview and program details can be found at aya-arpa.org.
Kent County: Broadband Installation — $10,000,000
The project will install broadband internet service in Kent County where it is not currently provided through internet service providers or where existing service speed/quality is inadequate. The installation project will be based on maps that identify gaps in broadband service and data on other barriers to access (e.g., affordability, device access). The maps and data collected will be used to prepare a strategy to fill internet service gaps and improve service speed where it does not meet federal guidelines. The ARPA dollars will fund internet service provider installation of new and improved services in alignment with the strategy.
Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation: Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital – $3,500,000
The freestanding rehabilitation hospital will serve kids and their families. The two-story structure will be built across from the current Mary Free Bed hospital. A pedestrian walkway over Wealthy Street SE. will connect them. Outpatient services will be on the first floor with multiple therapy gyms, private treatment and exam rooms, conference areas for medical teams to meet with patients and families, spaces for laboratory services and a café with menus for young and older palettes. The second floor will house 24 private inpatient rooms with ample space for parents to stay overnight. Several rooms will have ventilator capability. Multiple therapy gyms will provide different stimulation environments. Home-like areas will enable kids to practice everyday tasks. Common eating spaces will promote patients and families dining together and supporting one another. The hospital will house our pediatric specialty programs: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Chronic Pain, Early Development and Limb Differences. Other conditions treated will include amputations, brain injuries, cancer, multiple traumas, neurological disorders, scoliosis, spinal cord injuries, strokes and congenital conditions. Specialized services such as assistive technology, braces, prosthetics and crania remolding helmets will be easy to access. Distinctive features will include recreation areas for all ages, leading-edge technology and a dedicated area for a certified teacher to help children keep up with schoolwork.
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