By SUE SUCHYTA
Times-Herald/Sunday Times Newspapers
The fiscal year 2023 omnibus appropriations budget contains more than $36 million for Michigan’s 12th District, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell announced Dec. 21, spread among 15 community projects.
Dingell said the projects will protect the environment, develop and distribute clean energy, increase affordable housing and health care, and support workforce development.
“With this federal funding, we are supporting local leaders and organizations, from Downriver to Dearborn,” she said. “The recipients of these well-deserved funds are making a significant difference for the residents of southeast Michigan.”
Dearborn will receive $1 million for a training program to offer peer-to-peer support and workshop-based training for who have been underrepresented in the workforce.
Dearborn WORKS will help participants start and manage small and home businesses and will mentor women in culturally appropriate settings. It will also provide soft skills in retail and commercial environments and help the participants become more comfortable doing financial transactions and interacting with customers.
The program will also offer support to women who already have businesses or applicable skills who want to grow their project into a microenterprise and to help them use their entrepreneurial skills in the business world.
Downriver communities will benefit directly from five projects, the largest of which is $4.1 million in construction funding for gap and intersection improvements for the Downriver Linked Greenways Trail System.
The Friends of the Detroit River will use the funding to connect the gaps to create a continuous bicycle lane on West Jefferson Avenue through nine Downriver communities.
The second largest Downriver project would provide Grosse Ile Township with $3.5 million for legally mandated upgrades to its municipal wastewater treatment plant, which would increase its capacity and will minimize sanitary sewer overflows into the Detroit River and Lake Erie. This will also improve the water quality in the watershed area.
The Downriver Community Conference will receive $703,700 for its skills training, job placement and support services for first responder and critical occupations training program at Michigan WORKS in Southgate.
The funding will be used to recruit, train and place job seekers in critically needed first-responder positions in the workforce. Staff will provide career coaching, training and placement, as well as followup support, which includes books, certification, tools and transportation.
The program will focus on unemployed, low-income, laid-off and under-employed workers, as well as those currently in the field in need of support. Veterans and those re-entering the workforce will also receive help surmounting barriers and paying for training.
Also in Southgate, the Downriver Mutual Aid consortium will receive $750,000 for new technology to improve public safety effectiveness, connectivity and communication between the 18 police departments in the DMA.
Wayne Metro will use $1.85 million to launch an emergency homeless shelter system for single adults in Wayne County outside of Detroit. It will feature a day shelter in Taylor and an overnight shelter in River Rouge.
Wayne Metro will also provide case management, life skills and supportive services to shelter recipients.
The Great Lakes Water Authority, which services southeast Michigan, will receive $3.5 million for a per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances compounds remediation project.
PFAS are human-made substances found in many consumer and industrial products. They do not break down easily, accumulate in the environment and people’s bodies, and have been linked to serious health problems.
GLWA plans to establish a demonstration project to rapidly respond, remediate, treat and dispose of PFAS contamination in the Oakwood Sewer District, which is south of the Rouge River, covers about 1,520 acres, and would have a positive impact on the entire region by removing PFAS from wastewater.