A state grant will fund significant streetscape and infrastructure improvements in downtown Howell.

The City of Howell is being awarded $1.7-million through the Michigan Strategic Fund from the State of Michigan’s Community Development Block Grant allocation. This award will allow the City to make substantial improvements and upgrades to the 100 block of North State Street and a pair of adjacent alleyways. Funding will cover reconstruction with a barrier-free design, the burying of utility lines, pedestrian enhancements, drainage improvements, and repairs and replacements of water, sewer, and storm sewer lines.

The City has always been in compliance with federal and state lead rules, including the revised stricter rules following the Flint water scandal; and also very proactive when it comes to staying ahead of the curve on different issues and replacing aging infrastructure. Mayor Nick Proctor said at Wednesday’s Downtown Development Authority meeting that they have no lead lines or lead in their water. They do have some lead joints on State Street that he said will be replaced as part of the project, but again, there is no lead in the water.

DDA Director Cathleen Edgerly said city staff has been in contact with business and property owners to help address their concerns with this major project, knowing that it will likely create some inconveniences.

Current City Council policy mandates that construction projects be funded with at least 80%from outside sources. The grant is covering nearly 90% of the project’s cost. The City will be responsible for all design and construction management costs which are estimated to be around $320,000.

Edgerly said they don’t have a firm start date for the project yet, but they are hoping to begin in May and have it completed in October. (MK)