A $2 million renovation project for State Street in the City of Howell hangs in the balance as officials hope to obtain a state grant that would cover the majority of the cost.

The City last year applied for a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, but was denied. However they were later approached by the MEDC about the State Street project and received feedback encouraging them to apply again, which officials think is due in part to the downtown area winning the “Great American Main Street Award” earlier this year.

The scope of the project includes complete reconstruction of State Street between Clinton and Grand River, Peanut Row Alley, and some work on a private alley that runs north and south, according to Community Development Director Tim Schmitt. The extent of the work would include burying power lines, sewer, water and sanitary improvements, and rebuilding State Street to make it a “festival street”, which is a barrier-free street that would give the downtown events more room to operate.

City Council on Monday approved funds for the design portion of the project that would begin this fall in the amount of $74,000. The City would only need to cover around $300-$400,000 in design and engineering costs, as the $1.7 million grant from the state would fund the heart of the infrastructure work.

The goal is to begin construction in the spring and while officials are remaining hopeful, they cannot say with certainty that the project will take place until the grant is a guarantee. Schmitt says it’s not possible without it and the project would be put on hold if they are not the recipients. (DK)