The Battle Creek Urban League has secured another $50,000 state grant to improve another neighborhood.   The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) announced another $1.8 million in Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP) grants to 43 local governments and nonprofit groups across Michigan.  Southwestern Michigan Urban League President and CEO Kyra Wallace said this is the second $50,000 grant they’ve received under the program.

The program is designed to launch projects directly tied to improving and stabilizing communities. Projects will focus mainly on housing repairs and upgrades while some also will include neighborhood public amenity enhancements.

Wallace said the previous grant is being used to improve a section of the Linear Path, along the Kalamazoo River from Washington to Kendall.

Linear Park -Washington to Kendall-TSM Photo Tim Collins

Along with those improvements, homes in that area are also getting help to make exterior improvements, like roofing, fencing, painting, and accessibility.   “We sent letters to every homeowner in the neighborhood, to encourage them to apply for funds,” said Wallace.   “We’ll be doing that soon with the new project.”

Get our free mobile app

That new project will be in the Park Hill neighborhood on Battle Creek’s north side, between Irving Park and Claude Evans Park.  “We’ll be improving the rock garden along Walter Avenue, which you can barely even notice right now.  We’ll also be developing an outdoor health park in the area.”

Walter Avenue Rock Garden2-Irving Park-TSM Photo Tim Collins

"As MSHDA works to support the improvement and stabilization of Michigan's neighborhoods, we are pleased to award this latest round of grants to local groups across the state as they help their communities through the completion of high-impact projects aimed at improving the quality of life for residents," said Tonya Young, Neighborhood Enhancement Team manager.

This is the sixth round of state NEP grants.   To become a grantee, organizations had to show a level of need and demonstrate that the proposed project will make a noticeable difference in the community and/or serve as a catalyst to promote neighborhood stability.

Residents should start noticing activity related to the grants in their communities this summer or fall and the projects should be complete by December 31, 2021.

Most of the $1.8 million is going for projects in Wayne County.  Here are some that are in the Battle Creek Area.

  • Southwestern Urban League, (Calhoun) $50,000
  • City of Coldwater (Branch) $40,000
  • Village of Colon (St. Joseph County) $20,000
  • Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housings Services (Kalamazoo) $74,989
Walter Avenue Rock Garden1-Irving Park-TSM Photo Tim Collins

LOOK: 50 essential civil rights speeches

Many of the speakers had a lifetime commitment to human rights, but one tried to silence an activist lobbying for voting rights, before later signing off on major civil rights legislation. Several fought for freedom for more than one oppressed group.

Keep reading to discover 50 essential civil rights speeches.