A new competition created by Consumers Energy aims to reward ideas and provide funding for projects that are being developed in small communities.

The “Put Your Town on the Map” competition will provide a total of $15,000 to three initiatives that are designed to build a stronger sense of community. Spokesman Brian Wheeler says Consumers Energy created the competition to reward ideas and provide critical dollars for projects that are being developed in small towns throughout Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Wheeler says some examples are projects that would attract visitors to downtown areas, or focus on issues like housing, education and employment.

Communities with a population of up to 10,000 have until March 1st to submit proposals. From those proposals, Consumers Energy and the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan will select 10 communities to make a pitch for a share of the grant money. The finalist communities will compete for the funding at the 2019 Small Town and Rural Development Conference on April 17th in Thompsonville. The community that takes first place will be awarded $7,500, second place receives $5,000 and the third place winner will receive $2,500.

Wheeler says the competition is also an opportunity for communities to think about how they want to attract visitors and what projects they can pursue now or in the future. Community leaders can learn more and apply for the competition at the link below. (DK)