$1.65M in federal funding headed to Midland area, Center for Arts

Shaun H. Ruff


Federal funds totaling $1.65 million are headed to the City of Midland, the Midland Center for the Arts and Midland County after the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2022 was signed Tuesday by President Joe Biden.

“Thanks to our representatives in Washington, D.C. – especially Congressman John Moolenaar and Senator Debbie Stabenow – our specific requests for fiscal year 2022 were included and passed in the final omnibus bill,” said Tony Stamas, president and CEO of the Midland Business Alliance, in a news release issued Thursday. “These funds will help with mid-Michigan’s rebuilding and restoration after the 2020 flood – and will help build resiliency for the future.”

The funding bill includes the following:

  • $750,000 for the City of Midland storm and sanitary sewer improvement project
  • $500,000 for the MCFTA revitalization project
  • $400,000 for the County of Midland’s Tittabawassee River Watershed data collection and resiliency planning
  • Bill language that adjusts the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) federal cost-share for major disasters in calendar years 2020 and 2021 from 75% to no less than 90% of eligible costs of such assistance
  • Report language that directs the coordination between five federal agencies to support environment-based flood mitigation measures

Midland storm/sanitary sewer improvement

The $750,000 grant for the City of Midland comes from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) State and Tribal Assistance Grants program. This funding will support the planned sanitary sewer lining and manhole rehabilitation project to improve the sewer system and build resiliency for future flooding and rain events.

This project is designed to help address the high rates of infiltration and inflow of rainwater into the sanitary sewer system. Infiltration and inflow removal involves the lining of existing sanitary sewers to make them more watertight, and the rehabilitation of manholes to provide a better seal against rainwater and overland stormwater flow.

By addressing the infiltration and inflow issue, there should be fewer sanitary sewer backups into basements.

It would also result in less volume flowing into Midland’s wastewater treatment facility during rain events.
“The City has an ambitious program in place that is intended to improve the condition and effectiveness of our storm and sanitary sewer systems,” said Midland City Manager Brad Kaye. “We appreciate this federal funding and the role that our federal legislators have played in securing this for our city, as it will certainly help ease the demands on the City’s budget.”
MCFTA revitalization 

The $500,000 for the MCFTA comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Economic Development Initiative (EDI) grant funding. The 2020 flood devastated archives, exhibits and collections that are key to the history and culture of the region and the state.

In addition, the main Center for the Arts building and its high-voltage electrical system, the Herbert H. Dow Museum, the Doan History Center, and the Bradley Home and Carriage House sustained several million dollars of damage. The HUD EDI grant is designed to help fund structural improvements for the MCFTA buildings.
“We are excited about this important grant, which will help us complete vital restoration projects across Midland Center for the Arts’ facilities,” said Diane Willcox, MCFTA Vice President of Communications and Development. “These funds will allow us to revitalize the Center as a landmark destination.”
Watershed data collection and resiliency planning

The $400,000 for the County of Midland comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through the National Weather Service (NWS). The funding supports data collection tools and activities to improve the understanding of risks within the Tittabawassee River Watershed and to increase resiliency measures.
“We recognize the impacts of a changing climate and the critical need for improved data collection tools to assess rainfall and water levels in the watershed,” said Bridgette Gransden, Midland County Administrator/Controller. “This data is necessary to improve flood forecasting, assess the threat of future flood events, inform City and County emergency management and first responders, as well as provide information for long-term planning.”
Federal cost-share increased to no less than 90%

Typically, when a federal major disaster declaration is made, the resulting federal assistance has a cost-share of 75% federal and 25% local.
“That 25% can be a high hurdle for local communities. Congressman Moolenaar has been mid-Michigan’s champion to get this changed for the 2020 flood damage,” said J.W. Fisher, Co-Chair of the MBA Advisory Committee on Infrastructure. 
The change affects those areas with federal major disaster declarations in calendar years 2020 and 2021. The federal cost-share of eligible assistance increases to “no less than 90%,” reducing the local cost-share to 10% or less. After the 2020 flood, the major disaster declaration included the counties of Midland, Arenac, Gladwin, Iosco and Saginaw.

Gransden said the increase in the reimbursement level for flood-related FEMA projects means a savings of nearly $400,000 for Midland County.

“The other local units of government and nonprofits that have been working through this process with FEMA will need to use less local dollars to restore their properties to pre-flood conditions. We are extremely grateful for the dedication our legislators have shown to Midland and the region,” Gransden said.
Federal coordination on flood mitigation

Report language was incorporated successfully in five individual fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills and was included in the passed legislation. The legislative report language urges the coordination on environment-based flood mitigation measures among five federal agencies: FEMA, EPA, NOAA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“Each of these agencies has played an important role in the federal response following the 2020 major disaster declaration,” said Lee Ann Keller, Co-Chair of the MBA Advisory Committee on Infrastructure. “The report language lets these agencies know that Congress sees the importance of environment-based mitigation measures to lessen the impact of future floods in our region. This can help us get the support of these agencies for our future flood reduction projects.” 


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