City Council OKs grant application for Front Street development
By By JAN GRIFFEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The Niles City Council gave its OK Monday night to making application for a $225,230 grant from the Michigan Community Development Block Grant program.
The majority of the money would be used to fund streetscape improvements along Front Street in the vicinity of the former HI's Restaurant and Tavern.
About $60,000 of the money would go to the developers of Niles Riverfront Cafe LLC, owned by Tammy Watson and Gerri Klinck, in the form of a grant.
However, if the 13 jobs it is anticipated that the opening of the new Niles restaurant would create do not materialize, its developers could be on the hook for repaying the funds.
Watson and Klinck, through the company they have formed, have purchased the old HI's building and are in the midst of renovating it and plan to open it soon as Niles Riverfront Cafe.
The City of Niles, as its local match, will put up $25,000 -- $20,000 from the city's utilities department and $5,000 from the Niles Downtown Development Authority. The utilities department funds are those which have been earmarked to pay for street light improvements in that area.
Councilmembers Bruce Williams and Scott Clark both expressed excitement and pleasure with the work progressing in downtown Niles.
Williams said the specifications for removing facades on Main Street have been prepared and will soon go out for bid.
Niles Mayor Mike McCauslin said Niles is being held up as a leader in the state in the area of community development and re-development.
He said the city's planning director, Juan Ganum, attended a conference recently at which two of the presenters used Niles as a positive example in their PowerPoint presentations.
In other business Monday, the council: