MDARD provides grants to UP communities for rural development projects

MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) — Some rural communities around UP stand to benefit from improved infrastructure.

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Rural Development Fund grants are intended to support projects and industries that benefit rural communities. The department received 114 proposals and awarded grants to 21 projects, including some in Delta, Houghton and Marquette counties.

The Township of Powell received $70,000 to help fund its single-lane trail network expansion project along County Road 510.

“This round of grants would allow us to develop more trails on the east side and new trails on the west side as well,” said Powell Township Parks and Recreation Committee member Lucy Wilcox.

Wilcox says the trail would be accessible by handcycle and the whole project could help attract tourists and improve health.

“Cheers, it’s just a huge giveaway,” she said. “For your sanity, walking in these woods, people are so happy because you’re walking in maples, pines and birches.”

The purpose of these grants is also to promote sustainable land-based industries like food and agriculture, forestry and mining. Ishpeming Public Schools, for example, is set to get $100,000 in conjunction with Partridge Creek Farm to build an intergenerational farm.

“This grant, in particular, will allow us to break new ground this spring/summer and install water, sewer, do some rough grading, and add topsoil and compost,” May said. Tsupros, director of programs and partnerships at Patridge Creek.

The district will fund the project and will be reimbursed by the grant. One of the farm’s goals would be to teach Ishpeming students how to grow and eat healthy food.

“We would like to expand the outdoor gardens to something bigger and better,” Superintendent Carrie Meyer said. “This grant will give us the foundation to start taking the next step and creating that outdoor classroom for these students.”

Both projects are committed to starting as soon as possible.

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