MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Following the announcement Thursday of a $495,000 brownfield redevelopment grant and $1 million loan from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) for the State Savings Bank project in downtown Marquette, we contacted EGLE to learn more about their role and involvement in projects like this.

Abbie Hanson is the Brownfield Coordinator in the Marquette District Office of EGLE. She says their main priority is to make sure the site is safe for reuse.

“Our general purpose here as a Brownfield coordinator is to provide technical and financial incentives to help facilitate these Brownfield projects. Several benefits in doing so, we can help eliminate blight, prevent urban sprawl, and often capitalize on existing infrastructure and avoid the cost of establishing new infrastructure,” said Hanson.

Hanson said the grant and loan for this project both come from ELGE and the funding source depending on what’s requested.

Before applications are submitted, EGLE works to make sure the project is a good fit for their program. They look at questions like, is the contamination well defined? Is there solid redevelopment in the picture? Are there measures needed to be implemented to ensure the site is safe for reuse? If the answers to questions like these is, “yes” EGLE can move forward with the proposal.

“Our grantees and borrowers are always local units of government. To further ensure a community is on board with a project, we do require a letter of support from the community. In the case of a loan specifically, a signed resolution from the applicant’s governing body. Just making sure they are willing to take on the responsibilities of that loan and they are committed to the payback as well.”

Hanson said EGLE loans are currently at 1.5%. Repayment starts with a five-year interest free grace period. After that, it’s a ten-year plan of equal installments. Being awarded grants or loans doesn’t mean the funds are immediately available.

“Before any funding can be spent, before the award is made, we do require that work plans be submitted to EGLE. Those work plans will detail the activities to be conducted, how they are going to be conducted, and the associated costs. Plans will then be reviewed by the regional brownfield coordinator as well as other officials at EGLE. Once the plans have been approved, then the funding can be spent,” added Hanson

Hanson is the point of contact for all brownfield questions in the U.P. You can learn more and connect here.