“Region 8,” the Economic Development District (EDD) name of the West Michigan Regional Planning Commission (WMRPC), has received $35,405,294 in grants from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) since the region became an EDD in 1973, through 2010.  The information below describes the trends over the years and identifies recipients and the various types of grants.


Public Works Grants

EDA’s Public Works Grants are available to communities to improve the public infrastructure necessary to support the growth of an area’s economy.  EDA has funded a variety of projects in Region 8 such as roads, water and wastewater systems, and industrial parks.  At $32,298,313, Public Works Grants make up the largest share of the grant amounts.  The following shows the distribution of grants across the seven counties:


Communities in Allegan County


Communities in Ionia County


Communities in Kent County


Communities in Mecosta County


Communities in Montcalm County


Communities in Osceola County


Communities in Ottawa County


Communities in Pre-1990 Region 8 Boundaries



In Region 8, the first Public Works Grants were granted in 1975.  Over the years, this has been a steady resource for communities.  The following information shows the number of grants and the grant amounts provided over time.  The information shows that the last period (2006-2010) was a very good five years.


1975 (3 grants)


1976-1980 (4 grants)


1981-1985 (7 grants)


1986-1990 (3 grants)


1991-1995 (3 grants)


1996-2000 (7 grants)


2001-2005 (3 grants)


2006-2010 (6 grants)



There are many interesting facts about Public Works Grants in Region 8.  The City of Greenville has been the most successful community – bringing in a total of seven Public Works Grants totaling $5,934,517.  The largest EDA grant (in Region 8) was $4,183,000 and went to the City of Allegan in 2009 – but the largest when inflation is factored in went to the City of Grand Rapids in 1975 and totaled $3,200,000. 


If your community is interested in applying for a Public Works Grant, your project must be listed in the most current Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).  Your community must be a current member of the WMRPC to participate in the CEDS.  Currently, all communities in the counties of Allegan, Mecosta, Montcalm, Osceola, and Ottawa are members (Countywide membership is the most effective and efficient way to address membership).  Individual members in Kent County include the cities of Grand Rapids, Wyoming, and Cedar Springs.  Individual members in Ionia County include the cities of Belding, Ionia, and Portland; the villages of Hubbardston, Lake Odessa, Lyons, and Pewamo; and Easton and Keene Townships.  


Economic Assistance Grants and Other Grants


EDA also provides Economic Assistance Grants to help communities work through difficult times related to job losses or to assist with other community building strategies.  This is not as large of a program, but has still provided funds over the years to communities across Region 8 (shown below). 


City of Allegan, 1999 $30,000

City of Grand Rapids, 1975 $40,520

WMRPC, 1982 $12,000

Montcalm County, 1987 $35,000

City of Ionia, 2000 $51,200

Grand Rapids Gypsum Company, 1976 $760,719

Ferris State University, 1988-91 $87,349


Planning Grants


The WMRPC receives an annual planning grant from EDA to help with the operational costs associated with maintaining the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).  Since 1974 when the WMRPC received its first EDA Planning grant for $27,855 we have received $2,582,014 (the WMRPC currently receives about $60,000 annually from EDA). 


If your community wants to learn more about EDA as a potential funding source, contact Dave Bee at the WMRPC.





The following project descriptions provide some indication of the types of projects that EDA has funded within Region 8.  The information below includes the original project text that was part of a past CEDS document, along with the original estimated cost as well as the EDA grant amount.  The projects below received grant funding during the 2007–2012 period.


City of Allegan – Allegan County – Water Treatment Facility Improvements


The City of Allegan plans to update its water treatment plant to provide a more consistent and reliable water source and thereby meet the needs of business and industry.  Proposed upgrades will improve the quality of the treated water and include:  replacement of up-flow clarifiers, more effective removal of both iron and sludge from the water, and location of the City’s high pressure water pumps at the facility to improve redundancy and pumping efficiency.  System improvements will enable a more efficient and uniform water source to serve the City’s manufacturing businesses. 

Estimated cost:  $8.0 million – Received $4.2 million EDA Grant


City of Grand Rapids – Kent County – Seward Avenue Improvements


The extension and improvement of Seward Avenue between Fulton and Butterworth Streets is designed to expand the improved north-south connector street on the City’s west side.  Physical improvements will include street re-alignments, widening of streets, the addition of boulevards, and the addition of amenities such as sidewalks, signage, and street lights.  The project will improve access to industrial properties in the area and divert industrial truck traffic away from adjacent residential neighborhoods.  The project is expected to leverage substantial private investment and result in additional industrial capacity as well as considerable job creation and retention. 

Estimated cost:  $4.4 million – Received $1.5 million EDA Grant


City of Grand Rapids – Kent County – Seward Avenue Improvements


The City plans to increase its wastewater treatment capacity from the current 1.5 MGD (million gallons per day) to 1.75 MGD in the first of two 10-year phased improvements.  Upgrades will include improvements to the trickling filter system and increased sludge digestion capacity.  The City also plans to expand capacity by reducing inflow to the system related to combined sewer overflow.  Capacity will also be expanded by the use of solar panels to generate electricity.  The proposed improvements will serve the needs of Greenville’s existing and potential employers, including high-tech manufacturers as well as more traditional manufacturers and also agricultural businesses. 

Estimated cost:  $3.8 million – Received $1,890,000 EDA Grant


Village of Howard City – Wastewater Treatment Improvement Project


Install a mixed bed biofilm reactor; improve lift stations; replace 1,900 feet outdated sanitary main; implement substantial improvements to existing wastewater treatment plant. 

Estimated cost:  $2.7 million – Received $1,315,000 EDA Grant


Lakeshore Advantage & Michigan State University – Ottawa County – Michigan State University Bio-Economy Center


This project centers on a research facility donated by Pfizer to Michigan State University to promote research in bio-technology and promote the commercialization of research performed by researchers and students.  The facility will also provide many training opportunities as well as space for a high tech business incubator.  The donated facility is in excellent condition but will need some equipment replaced and upgraded.  Additionally, the Center will need assistance with staffing a new Design Center for two years.

Estimated Cost:  $4.0 million – Received $586,000 from EDA/I-6 Grant


Village of Lake Odessa – Ionia County – Lakewood Wastewater


The project consists of constructing a new, secondary clarifier and associated appurtenances to effectively handle high organic loading that the Lakewood Wastewater Treatment Plant currently experiences, and installing a new 20” HDPE force-main to dramatically reduce energy consumption of the system.  The Authority is addressing the potential expansion of two of the largest users of the system, both food processors.  The proposed improvements will add capacity and reduce energy costs making the system more affordable to existing and potential businesses. 

Estimated Cost:  $4,456,250 – Currently approved for $2.1 million EDA Grant (will be in 2012 CEDS Cycle)


Village of Lake Odessa – Ionia County – Lakewood Wastewater


Spring Lake Township participates with the surrounding communities in a joint sewer authority.  The Township needs to upgrade its wastewater transmission system to meet the existing and future needs of manufacturers and other businesses.  The Township’s five-year capital improvements schedule calls for the replacement of seven lift stations.  The Township’s current industrial area, which covers nearly 500 acres, has room for the expansion of current businesses.  The Township owns an additional 120 acres, which it plans to develop into an industrial park in the future; those plans depend on an expanded wastewater system. 

Estimated cost:  $2.1 million – Received $1.2 million EDA Grant


City of Reed City – Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion


Expand capacity of City’s wastewater treatment plant from 0.92 mgpd to 1.8 mgpd. 

Estimated cost:  $3,135,000 – Received $1,630,000 EDA Grant



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