By Jessica Mathews / / Michigan News Connection

Livingston County municipalities still have time to submit proposals as part of a grant opportunity being made available to small towns with big ideas.

As small towns struggle to recover from the pandemic, a grant program called "Put Your Town on the Map" through the Consumers Energy Foundation aims to support ideas for revitalization.

Even before COVID-19, many rural and small towns already were facing economic difficulties. Some towns had not regained unemployment levels from prior to the 2008 recession, and others have limited access to critical infrastructure such as broadband.

Josh Paciorek with the Consumers Energy Foundation says residents and businesses in small towns have great ideas for how to help their communities thrive – they might just need a little assistance to get started.

Paciorek commented "It's been a challenging past couple of years with the global pandemic. It's definitely impacted some of the smaller communities that are across our state. But as we look to 2022 and the years to come, we know folks are hopeful. What we're really looking to do with these grant dollars is reward innovative ideas that look to attract visitors or attract folks to move back to these towns. We're looking for ideas that are focused on housing, education or employment, ideas that help create community pride".

Michigan towns with fewer than 10,000 people are eligible to enter submissions.

Last year, the Village of Pinckney was one of the Foundation’s award winners. The Village was awarded the second-place prize of $15,000 that was used to build an accessible community garden on vacant land downtown (pictured).

Submissions are due by March 18th.