Six months ago, the Biden administration signed into law a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.
On Tuesday, Xochitl Torres Small, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary for rural development, and Brandon Fewins, Michigan state executive, traveled to Traverse City to review new projects underway.
“I really appreciate the opportunity to learn from Traverse City, to feel the dedication to the community,” said Torres Small.
Undersecretary Torres Small wants to understand how rural development can be a strong partner for places like Traverse City and continue to invest in projects like Commongrounds Cooperative.
“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to being true partners in rural communities and here in Michigan, we are very inspired by the work that is being done as a cooperative,” Torres Small said.
The Commongrounds Cooperative is using an $8 million business and industry loan to build a mixed-use facility on Eighth Street in Traverse City.
“The community support that makes this project possible, the clear planning that has been done when it comes to identifying community needs, like early childhood care, or mixed income housing, housing for workforce,” said Torres Small.
The USDA provides grants under the Rural Energy for America program.
Cherry Republic received two such grants, helping them upgrade equipment at their factory and install a rooftop solar panel system.
“These USDA grants are very important because it usually doesn’t always make financial sense to do something in a small town with logistics and a pool of resources,” said the CEO of Cherry Republic. , Todd Ciolek. “It added that extra incentive for Cherry Republic to make those investments in our small towns.”
The USDA says ensuring safe drinking water, increasing low-income housing, and improving high-speed internet access are just some of the programs they are working on, in addition to renewable energy for businesses.
For more information on applying for a grant under the Rural Energy for America program, you can visit their website.