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'Grand Strategy' among federal aid finalists

Downtown Grand Rapids

Communities along the Grand River are among finalists of a $1 billion federal asset protection grant program.

The goal of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's National Disaster Resilience program is community protection.

Communities surrounding the Grand River were declared eligible for program funding. An application led by Kent County and Grand Rapids officials is now among the top 40 candidates nationally.

Named ‘The Grand Strategy,’ the application centers on protecting and strengthening West Michigan communities along the Grand River.

That includes enhancing and transforming urban waterfront and flood retention efforts, close to 100 acres of wetland restoration and removal of several obsolete dams.

Additional attention is paid to properties along the floodplain.

Officials say in all, the Grand Strategy includes about two dozen initiatives and objectives at an estimated total of $350 million. About two-thirds of that would come from federal dollars.

Of the billion dollars, about $800 million is available. Close to $200 million has been earmarked for communities impacted by Superstorm Sandy. 

A plan can request up to $500 million for approval.

Proposals are due later this month. 

Grant recipients will be announced in January.

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