By Jef Rietsma
Federal officials last month announced Vicksburg will receive $3.7 million in American Rescue Funds.
The windfall comes through the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration.
Vicksburg Village Manager Jim Mallery said the municipality was able to parlay the funds with a 40-year low-interest $6.9 million loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to yield a total of $10.6 million.
The money will be used in various ways, though Mallery said he is especially pleased that a portion will go toward improvements related to the village’s water and sewer systems.
He said $3.7 million is the largest grant in the village’s history. Mallery noted the roots of the grant date to 2019. The village remained aggressive in pursuing the money and the dedication obviously paid off, Mallery said.
“Out of $500 million available country-wide, I think we were very lucky and we’re extremely grateful to receive such a substantial amount,” Mallery said.
The village will benefit in many ways. The grant money will support development of two commercial lots in Vicksburg’s Industrial Business Park and a 100-acre industrial-zoned site.
Meanwhile, a portion of the grant money, coupled with the low-interest loan, will be dedicated to the village’s wastewater infrastructure. Mallery said a critical project includes the installation of a force main parallel to Sprinkle Road intended to carry sewage to Portage’s system and thence to Kalamazoo for treatment.
“As a result, citizens should see continued development in the village because of that infrastructure capacity … what we’re putting in the ground gives us the ability to develop out the village,” he said. “For perspective, if the aging (infrastructure) concerns we have underground were potholes, people would be appalled. When we ran a camera through the system, it was clear we had to do this.”
Mallery acknowledged assistance from Portage and Kalamazoo city officials and the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. Each sent letters in support of the project, he said.
Support from federal, state and local officials accompanied a press release announcing the grant.
“The Economic Development Administration is pleased to support locally-driven strategies to boost business recovery efforts in Michigan,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “The upgrades to Vicksburg’s wastewater treatment system that will be supported by this EDA grant will create new and exciting opportunities for the village and the region.”
“This grant from the Economic Development Administration will help Vicksburg upgrade its water infrastructure, creating and retaining 350 jobs and generating $100 million in private investment,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Today’s investment will build on our efforts to grow our economy, create good-paying jobs, and invest in every region of Michigan.”
“This funding will not only allow Vicksburg to make critical upgrades to its wastewater treatment system, but also expand their capacity for business and commercial development and generate further investment in the community,” said U.S. Senator Gary Peters. “I was proud to help secure this funding through the American Rescue Plan and will continue working to support new and innovative opportunities for growth in communities throughout our state.”
“We are extremely grateful for the help and support provided by Senators Stabenow and Peters, Congressman Upton, Michigan Senator Sean McCann and former State Representative Brant Iden, without whom these dollars could have gone elsewhere,” Mallery added.
“I’m very proud of our staff and their relentless pursuit of opportunities to keep Vicksburg vibrant and progressive. They are doing a very good job of keeping our wonderful community in the news and growing,” said Vicksburg Village President Tim Frisbie.