Northern Michigan gets $6 million for “Deep Freeze Fund”

Almost a dozen counties hit by strong winter weather now have the opportunity to apply for millions in infrastructure grant money.

Cold weather this past winter was strong enough to damage water and sewer mains for some areas of northern Michigan.

Officials said $6 million in grants are available to help eligible communities through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Officials said places like Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet Counties were among the areas hit particularly hard and are among those eligible to apply for assistance.

Deborah Stuart is with the MEDC. She said the grant program is typically used for business development projects. However, she said, the deep freeze changed that.

“We are actually deciding to use it for this purpose and divert it from some of the other projects we might have been doing,” Stuart said, “And so we’ve decided that this is a high enough priority for the state that we want to get these communities back on their feet. And so that 6 million is just going to be shifted from other things that we may have done.”

Stuart said nine counties and additional communities were designated as a “State of Emergency” areas after November 2013. Counties listed as eligible include Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Delta, Emmet, Gogebic, Luce, Mackinac, and Marquette.

She said some areas continue to be impacted by water and sewer main breaks.

“We are not going to do road repair work unless it’s associated with those breaks,” Stuart said, “So a lot of them have torn up roads, blocked off roads because of those breaks and I was just talking to a U.P. community that said that they’re still experiencing breaks now as this all is happening. So this is just an ongoing issue that they’re still dealing with.”

She said the deadline for applications is August 18th.

Michigan Community Development Block Grant Community Development Initiatives