Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grants aim to spur Livingston Co. economic development

PONTIAC -- A county economic development organization has developed two programs to help prospective businesses and municipalities make improvements.

One grant is for property owners to refurbish existing space to encourage new businesses to move in. The other grant would help municipalities with general infrastructure improvements and property acquisitions.

The second grant requires the municipality to pay half the cost.

'These types of grants came out of discussions with local businesses, the county board and others who said that it basically came down to planting the seeds for economic development,' said Larry Vaupel, CEO of the Greater Livingston County Economic Development Council.

So far, the council has given $2,800 to a coffee shop in Pontiac and $13,500 to Cullom for a grocery store.* Vaupel said the council will use $200,000 for grants and another $300,000 for a revolving loan fund.

The $500,000 came from the Livingston County Board, which received $1 million from Iberdrola Renewables to put a wind farm into the county enterprise zone.

The Spanish developer is building a 150-turbine project. In an enterprise zone, developers can abate some taxes.

County Board Chairman Bill Fairfield said there are no immediate plans for the remaining $500,000.

(Source: The Pantagraph 11/5/09)

* Please note that the GLCEDC Executive Committee has not yet approved any grant applications, but has approved the grant programs.

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