Show of support deserved for downtown revitalization

Published 12:09 pm Saturday, February 10, 2007

By Staff
On Monday, city officials will give the Niles public an opportunity to express their thoughts about closing out the downtown revitalization project.
Since the successful completion of the project means Niles would not have to pay back more than $1 million in grant money, we feel Niles community members – particularly downtown residents and business owners – should make use of this opportunity.
In 2002, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) awarded a Community Development Block Grant to the Niles Downtown Development Authority totaling $1.17 million, with the stipulation that 39 new jobs are created along Main Street in Niles.
The $1.17 million was spent only on projects for Main Street between Front and Fifth streets, and covered the costs of the new sidewalks, planters and furnishings, such as the trash bins, as well as part of the faade improvements.
More than four years later, Main Street is home to 45 new jobs and the first new building built downtown in 50 years. Coupled with that is the vastly improved appearance of the downtown streets and buildings.
The Niles DDA and city officials have shown what commitment to a goal can yield, and they now deserve our support – or at very least, a pat on the back.
Therefore, we encourage Niles residents to make their voices heard Monday evening.