Archived News Release: July 5, 2023 - The City of Ann Arbor has been awarded $7.3 million in state funds that will be allocated to the following four city projects. In addition, Forestbrooke Athletic Club on the city's east side received $1.2 million.
State funding allocations
$5 million for Wheeler Center Solar Park project.
$1 million for a splash pad at the Bicentennial Park.
$500,000 for the city's unarmed crisis response program.
$800,000 for the Ann Arbor Housing Commission.
The $800,000 allocation from the legislature will help support the Ann Arbor Housing Commission's development of affordable housing properties across the city. This allocation will likely directly support the development of several projects across the city.
This $1 million allocation will support the development of a splash pad at the recently chosen Bicentennial Park, what is currently called Southeast Area Park. This park property is being developed to commemorate the city's upcoming bicentennial and will include the addition of several amenities and parks improvements to mark this important date in the city's history. In addition, Bicentennial Park's location was specifically chosen by the City Council to make an investment in a major park facility close to some of the city's most prominent low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.
“My roots are here with my immigrant parents and now with my own children," said Ann Arbor City Councilmember Ayesha Ghazi Edwin. “I see multi-generational families experience Ann Arbor Parks in the same way as public spaces that increase the health and well-being of our community. The Southeast side of town is one of the most racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse parts of the city. We have eight of the city's 12 Title I schools here. This park is also surrounded by three housing voucher communities and will provide new opportunities for youth programming. I am grateful to Senator Jeff Irwin for his equity-driven advocacy and for partnering with me to secure funding for this essential amenity to our city and region."
Wheeler Center Solar Park Project
The city's Wheeler Center Solar Park project is a planned 20-Megawatt solar power plant that will be partially built over the closed land fill. This project, a partnership with DTE, would operate as a community solar facility where residents would be able to purchase the locally sourced, green power generated to apply to their own energy consumption on their home or business energy bills. The $5 million state funding appropriation from the legislature is critical to move this project forward, although additional funding is still required to complete construction.
“The Wheeler Center Solar Park project is a transformative project that will help us achieve our carbon neutrality goals, find a creative reuse for our closed landfill property, and allow our residents to buy locally generated, green power," said Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor. “We are grateful to Senator Irwin for his advocacy on behalf of this project, and our entire legislative delegation for the steadfast support of it."
Unarmed Crisis Response Program
The $500,000 state allocation will go directly to support the development of the city's unarmed crisis response program. The city and its legislative delegation will be working to make this a recurring allocation in future budgets.
In addition, Forestbrooke Athletic Club on the city's east side received $1.2 million for the rehabilitation of its pool facilities. This is not a city owned facility, and the funds will not pass through the city, however this investment by the state in an important amenity and facility for our residents is notable and appreciated.
“The Forestbrooke Pool is a vibrant, welcoming and inclusive space for neighbors of all ages to come together and celebrate community, and this additional funding will be critical to repair existing infrastructure and make the facilities gender inclusive and accessible for all," said Ann Arbor City Councilmember and Mayor Pro Tem Travis Radina. “I'm immensely proud of State Representative Brabec's community-focused leadership and steadfast advocacy to ensure this project was included in the budget, and I'm so grateful for her willingness to work with me, as a council member for this neighborhood, to secure this extremely important funding for our community."