Kettering University, the University of Michigan-Flint and the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce have received Economic Development Assistance grants from the United States Economic Development Administration (EDA). Kettering University received $1.9 million for completion of phase two of the Kettering University GM Mobility Research Center. The University of Michigan-Flint received $400,000 to establish a University Center for Community and Economic Development. The Flint & Genesee Chamber received $197,416 to create a brownfield redevelopment accelerator.
“Ensuring that our nation’s communities have the vital, infrastructure and tools needed to support economic growth is a top priority for the Economic Development Administration,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary Jay Williams. “Today’s investments support Flint’s initiatives to grow the local economy and provide employment opportunities for the local workforce which helps strengthen the country’s global competitiveness.”
Kettering’s Mobility Research Center is being constructed on a 19-acre property at the corner of Chevrolet Avenue and Bluff Street. Phase one of the project, which included construction of a 3-acre test pad, was completed in the fall of 2016.
Phase two construction, with support from the EDA grant, will begin in the spring of 2017. Components of phase two include a low-speed road course with elevation and surface changes, optional routes and other features aimed at creating diverse testing environments. A garage facility will be constructed to include automotive bays, conference and office space and indoor lab space.
Another distinctive aspect of the facility is its connection to Kettering’s 4G LTE Advanced wireless cellular research network. Kettering is the only university in the country operating a private 4G LTE Advanced cellular network infrastructure. The network operates at 10X the data speed of current cellular networks, and provides researchers on the proving ground and surrounding areas with unique access to the next generation of cellular communications systems.
“This unique facility – the only one of its kind on a university campus in the country – puts Kettering and Flint at the forefront of research and development in mobility and autonomous vehicle systems, as well as associated safety and other related technologies,” said Dr. Robert K. McMahan, Kettering University President. “This facility will create learning opportunities for students that are unmatched anywhere while also enhancing opportunities for faculty research in collaboration with industry. As importantly, though, it will also allow the University – and the city of Flint – to attract and retain new industry partners that will develop and manufacture these new products and technologies. We are grateful for the support from the EDA to allow us to construct phase two of this incredible facility.”
The University of Michigan-Flint received a highly-competitive grant of up to $400,000 over five years to establish a University Center for Community and Economic Development. The EDA-funded University Center will provide entrepreneurship and innovation support in the seven-county region (Genesee, Shiawassee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Huron, Sanilac and Tuscola counties). The project includes funding for a regional asset mapping initiative — which will evaluate the impact of regional economic development efforts and conduct an annual regional business climate survey. A dedicated EDA University Center Research Fund also will support applied UM-Flint faculty and student research around economic and business development needs. UM-Flint students also will create a website to facilitate access to regional economic data, research findings, and create an interactive map.
“Our faculty and student researchers will provide important insights our region needs to make the most of its economic development work,” Chancellor Susan E. Borrego said. “The UM-Flint EDA University Center will help our region’s economic development planning and decision making — and ultimately evaluate economic development efforts to assess which were most effective. We know that the U.S. Economic Development Administration is very selective in the creation of its University Centers and we are proud to host this project on our campus.”
The Flint & Genesee Chamber’s EDA grant will be used to help accelerate brownfield redevelopment in the city of Flint. This includes the completion of a feasibility study that will assist with redevelopment of the city’s most critical brownfield manufacturing site at the former Buick City complex. The feasibility study will include three main elements that will guide the implementation process for construction of a business accelerator facility at the Buick site – a market study, a site plan, and a business plan.
“Brownfield sites are both a challenge and an opportunity for Flint,” said Tim Herman, CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber. “Apart from a perception that there are environmental and infrastructure challenges at the sites, there can be difficulties involved with identifying property price, processing site plans, and working through business licensing and legal procedures. On the other hand, brownfield sites are optimal sources of real estate on which build modern facilities that will be attractive to site selectors and businesses looking to locate here. The EDA grant provides a critical piece of the puzzle for brownfield redevelopment in Flint.”
About the Economic Development Administration: The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth. To learn more about EDA, visit www.eda.gov.
About Kettering University: Kettering University is a national leader in experiential STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and Business education, integrating an intense academic curriculum with applied professional experience. Through this proven approach we inspire students to realize their potential and advance their ideas by combining theory and practice better than any institution in the world. Kettering University is dedicated to achieving the extraordinary through technological innovation, leadership and service, built on values that foster respect, integrity, creativity, collaboration and excellence in growth, global leadership, community outreach and an engaged community of stakeholders. More: www.kettering.edu.
About University of Michigan-Flint: Founded in 1956 on a commitment to bring a quality Michigan education to Flint and the surrounding area, UM-Flint has done exactly what we set out to do. In the process, we’ve welcomed a record number of students into our classrooms, equipping them with the knowledge, experiences, and skills to make lasting contributions to the businesses, organizations, and communities they help shape. We invite you to see how our students, faculty, staff, and campus are making a real difference. More: www.umflint.edu.
About Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce: The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce is a premier business membership organization unlike most chambers of commerce. In addition to traditional member services, our responsibility includes serving as the lead economic development agency for Flint & Genesee, marketing tourism, youth and business training, and a Shared Services Center. More: www.flintandgenesee.org.