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InvestUP allocated $15 million in enhancement grants

MARQUETTE, MI— InvestUP has received an allocation of $15 million for Upper Peninsula economic development as part of the 2022-2023 Michigan budget bills which the state legislature passed on July 1.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to approve the measures within the next two weeks.

Pursuant to the award, the funds can be used for any of four critical challenges facing the region: housing development, childcare, broadband, and talent attraction, although it is expected that the focus for the funds will be on incentivizing housing development across the U.P. The award was one of only 144 enhancement grants issued statewide and InvestUP was the only economic development organization to receive funding.

"This budget was a major win for the Upper Peninsula," said InvestUP CEO Marty Fittante. "InvestUP has been entrusted with funds that allow the U.P. to help direct the region's fate and future by directly addressing our self-identified priorities. This is a historic, transformative opportunity to demonstrate how a state government and a region can effectively and efficiently partner to address critical challenges and better advance economic development and community development opportunities.”

Even with this difference-making investment, approximately $7 billion was withheld from allocation with this State budget. These funds could be the subject of supplemental budgets this fall. Fittante noted, “That's part of the reason why the imperative for InvestUP is to validate the trust that has been placed in us with this investment by partnering with other stakeholders to act quickly. We must work in partnership to establish a process and priorities before the allocation is actually entrusted to us this October. Furthermore, we must employ best practices to maximize the return on this investment and ensure impactful and equitable investment across the U.P.“

The State's award is the result of more than a year of investment and advocacy by InvestUP, as well as the robust support of a diverse group of stakeholders from across the U.P., the governor’s staff, and U.P. legislators, including Representatives Cambensy, Damoose, LaFave and Markkanen, and Senators McBroom and Schmidt. Fittante noted, "We join with economic development organizations, employers, and community interests across the U.P. in applauding Governor Whitmer and the legislature — especially the U.P. delegation — for taking time to understand where investment would advance prosperity for the region, and then coming together with a bi-partisan agreement to commit real resources to those opportunities."

This budget agreement also saw the governor and UP legislative leaders come together on a number of other important budgetary investments for the Upper Peninsula. They include a $34M commitment to build a new veterans' home (which will serve as match toward a nearly $100M new build), funding for the new Michigan Office of Rural Development, $2M for a new spinal surgery center at Mackinac Straits Hospital, and money for rail replacement and infrastructure to increase propane storage in Chippewa County.

Nicole was born near Detroit but has lived in the U.P. most of her life. She graduated from Marquette Senior High School and attended Michigan State and Northern Michigan Universities, graduating from NMU in 1993 with a degree in English.