16 Rural Michigan Communities Score State Grants For Economic Growth

Farmers harvest a crop in southwest Michigan. (Loren King via Unsplash)

By Kyle Kaminski

April 5, 2023

More than $1.8 million in state grants were awarded to 22 projects across Michigan. Each of them promote land-based industries, and will support infrastructure that benefits rural communities. 

MICHIGAN—Another round of state-funded grants are set to offer a big economic boost for more than a dozen rural communities across Michigan—including several new projects that’ll create more local jobs.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on Monday announced that 22 rural development grants were awarded to 22 different projects across the state. The grant funds, under law, must be used to promote the sustainability of land-based industries and support workforce training, rural capacity building, business development and other infrastructure improvements that benefit rural areas.

All told, state officials said they received 78 proposals this year with requests totaling more than $6.3 million. Of those, more than $1.8 million in grants were awarded to the following 22 projects: 

Alger County

Superior Sawmill: This $100,000 grant will fund infrastructure upgrades near a local sawmill, which will ultimately make it easier for contractors and residents to tap into a rural supply of lumber in the area. 

Antrim County

Ethanology: This $100,000 grant will allow a local distillery to renovate its existing warehouse, ultimately helping to increase barrel-aged spirit production and ensure the long-term viability of the business.

Cass County

Cass County: Government officials received a $100,000 grant to develop a countywide, parcel-level map of broadband internet availability, which will be used to create an action plan to expand access. 

Cheboygan County

McCormick Farmz: This $68,000 state grant will help expand a locally owned lavender farm in Wolverine—specifically by funding the purchase of new equipment and improving nearby infrastructure. 

Delta County

Delta County Road Commission: The county received $100,000 to upgrade a one-mile stretch of County Road 434 from gravel to pavement, providing a vital link in the farm-to-market road network.

Dickinson County

Kiwanis Ski Club: This $100,000 state grant will promote tourism and help the club continue to generate income by hosting more events, renovating the complex, and adding an elevator to the ski jump tower. 

Grand Traverse County

GTA Children’s Garden: This $20,000 grant will build on an existing plan to sustain the garden campus with infrastructure upgrades, ultimately enhancing programming and local community education efforts.

Houghton County

River Trails: This $100,000 grant will help enhance an existing trail system by Michigan Technological University, bringing up property values and helping to ensure the future protection of the Pilgrim River. 

Skinny Pete’s: This $41,000 grant will help a local bakery expand to meet the demands of customers. State officials said it’ll also promote a more efficient workday for staff, and help boost the local economy.

Leelanau County

Cherry Bay Orchards: The company received a $100,000 grant to expand housing infrastructure for its employees—including both seasonal migrant workers and full-time American employees with families. 

Lakeview Hill Farm: This $100,000 grant will help convert a historic one-room schoolhouse into “The Schoolhouse Store at Lakeview Hill Farm,” which will help supply food to the local community. 

Marquette County

City of Negaunee: The city received $100,000 to replace a water main downtown, which will allow various businesses to connect and install fire suppression systems where they are needed. 

Educational Partnership in the Community (EPIC): This licensed child care provider received $100,000 to add volunteers to its infant and toddler program, which bolsters local child care options.

Iron Ore Recreation Authority: This $56,000 grant will support a project to improve trail maintenance equipment, bring on more volunteers, and maintain 47 miles of trails near the city of Ishpeming. 

Marquette County Land Bank Authority: This $50,000 project will help officials find solutions for the lack of affordable housing options in the area by funding a targeted market analysis on local real estate.

906 Technologies: This $70,000 grant will help improve broadband internet access in the city of Negaunee—namely by helping a service provider accelerate the rollout in underserved areas.

Menominee County

Wilson Enterprises: This $100,000 grant will help the company increase purchases of raw forestry materials and increase production, ultimately creating more jobs and boosting business revenues.

Newaygo County

Fremont Regional Digester: This $7,000 grant will allow a local recycling facility to build a new drop-off area for food waste, as well as install new signage encouraging residents to divert waste from landfills.  

Ogemaw County

Christian Youth Enterprises (New Life Camp): This camp program received $100,000 to expand tourism and recreational opportunities in the area—specifically in and around Rose City, Mio, and Lupton.

Schoolcraft County

Jack Pine Lodge UP: This $86,000 grant will support a campground expansion project to accommodate additional RV and camper trailer rental sites, which will promote tourism and boost the local economy.

Shiawassee County

Binkley Deer Processing LLC: This deer processing company received $100,000 to help grow its existing business, while also expanding into processing livestock—primarily beef and swine. 

Tuscola County

TCA Management: This $100,000 grant will help Michigan Gravel expand production with a new mine screening plant, which will also create several new jobs and help improve local product availability. 


  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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