Hancock applies for rehab

HANCOCK The city of Hancock is continuing its process of renovating apartments downtown with the application for up to $500,000 from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority Rental Rehabilitation Grant Program.

Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson said at their regular meeting Aug. 21, members of the Hancock City Council voted unanimously to have him submit the application for the MSHDA grant for up to 13 apartments.

Anderson said Hancock has been involved with renovating downtown apartments in buildings with businesses on the ground floor for three years, which is when MSHDA officials changed the focus of what kinds of rehabilitation they wanted to do. Previously, the agency focused on neighborhood rental rehabilitation. Now, they prefer to fund renovations of apartments which will help revitalize the state’s downtowns.

A building renovations which has been taking place for the past year is at 116 Quincy St., which was severely damaged as a result of a fatal fire on July 25, 2009, and Anderson said he wanted to extend the MSHDA grant for that project to more downtown rental rehabilitation projects, but MSHDA officials decided against that.

“We’ve been working with MSHDA for over a year to decide which vehicle we should use (for further rental rehabilitation projects downtown),” he said.

Anderson said MSHDA officials told him the city should submit another application for the $500,000 grant, and that’s what the council approved Aug. 21, and which he submitted soon after.

It will be known soon if the application was approved, Anderson said.

“We certainly expect MSHDA to tell us if it’s funded in the next several weeks,” he said.

The seven apartments in 116 Quincy St. filled almost immediately, which Anderson said is a good indicator of the interest in the city’s downtown.

“People do want to live downtown,” he said.

Anderson said some building owners have already indicated they will apply to be considered for funding from the MSHDA grant.

“The projects are ready to go,” he said. “We’re hoping to have some construction under way by late fall,” he said.