A rendering of the Joe Louis Greenway. The project will get $20 million from Wayne County’s federal COVID-19 relief funds toward completion of the pathway. (Joe Louis Greenway Facebook page)

Workforce development, the Joe Louis Greenway project and Motown Museum are among 14 projects in Wayne County getting a piece of nearly $100 million in federal COVID-rescue dollars. 

The Wayne County Commission on Thursday approved funding for projects that will impact 43 communities in the county with investment in public spaces, health and education and housing. 

The spending plan also calls for an investment of $50 million in workforce initiatives to help residents find and retain jobs and careers through training and employment programming, underrepresented worker assistance grants and initiatives geared toward those returning to work. 

“It’s no secret that COVID-19 gravely impacted the lives of our residents and the functionality of our business community,” Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans said in a statement. “With initiatives such as The Workforce Development Program and investments in our communities through redevelopment and rehabilitation, we are able to find real solutions that will have a lasting impact for Wayne County residents and steady our economic future.”

Among the projects, the Wayne County Commission approved $20 million for the Joe Louis Greenway recreation path; $2.5 million for the Motown Museum to create a community plaza in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood; and $500,000 to fund Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Michigan programming for youth in Detroit and Highland Park.

The City of Dearborn will get $9.6 million toward improvements at seven city parks as well as the creation of three new parks in underserved areas, while Northville gets $2.5 million to turn 12 acres along Middle Rouge River into a public park and $2.32 million will go toward a 33-acre park in Taylor. A $3.5 million investment is on the way for the Mill Street Redevelopment Project in Ecorse; $1.5 million will be used to tear down the Riverside Hospital building in Trenton; and $4.5 million will build a community center and improve the senior center in Van Buren Township.

Also, $177,000 will be used to refurbish a building in Belleville’s Victoria Park; $125,000 was approved for a downtown fitness park in Lincoln Park; up to $250,000 will be used to upgrade the Goudy Park Amphitheater in the city of Wayne; and the Marygrove Community Association will get up to $47,500 to turn three vacant parcels into public park land. 

“These projects were all seriously considered under the requirements of the rescue plan act,” added Wayne County Commission Chair Alisha Bell, D-Detroit. 

The county engaged with its municipalities to identify and prioritize the projects getting funding with the COVID-relief aid. County officials have until 2025 to authorize additional ARPA projects.  Another 42 projects are under review for future funding, county officials added.

The Southeast Michigan Community Alliance will serve as the county’s subrecipient for ARPA State and Local Recovery Funds and aid Wayne County’s Economic Development Department with implementation of the programs alongside community partners.

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