Zorn applauds Adrian for Michigan Main Street selection

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn applauded Thursday’s announcement that the city of Adrian has been selected by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) as a participant in the Michigan Main Street Program.

As part of the program, Adrian will receive five years of intensive technical assistance from MEDC with a focus on revitalization strategies designed to attract new residents, business investments, economic growth and job creation to the city’s central business district.

“Revitalizing our downtowns is about helping restore the heart of our communities,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I applaud local leaders in Adrian for earning this selection to the proven Michigan Main Street Program, which will help strengthen their ability to create a thriving downtown that attracts new investment, opportunities and talent to Adrian. As a result, this can help improve the local economy and the quality of life for area families.”

The Michigan Main Street Program aims to create communities distinguished by a “sense of place.” A range of studies show that investing in creating a sense of place is an integral part of developing vibrant downtowns and commercial districts, thereby making the state economically stronger and culturally diverse.

Adrian and the other 2021 selections of Coldwater and Rogers City join 24 communities — including Blissfield and Milan — already benefiting from participation in the program.

Over the past year, Michigan Main Street communities generated more than $26 million in private investment, 127 new businesses, and 143 façade improvements and building rehabilitations.

Since its inception in 2003, the Michigan Main Street Program has been a catalyst for job growth, private investment and community engagement. From 2003 through 2019, over 1,600 businesses have been launched with a total private investment of $346 million.

For further information on the program, visit www.michiganmainstreetcenter.org.

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Zorn applauds nearly $1B parks improvement plan

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Tuesday applauded new Senate legislation to invest nearly $1 billion in federal funds to make infrastructure improvements at state and local parks in Michigan.

“The Update MI Parks plan is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enhance the quality of life in Michigan for generations to come by making a historic investment in our state and local parks,” said Zorn. R-Ida. “While it was good to see more people visit our parks during the pandemic, the increased visitations brought to light the tremendous need for infrastructure improvements at these facilities.

“This plan uses one-time federal dollars to make necessary updates to our parks and provide more and better outdoor recreation opportunities for Michigan families.”

The $968 million Upgrade MI Parks plan includes Senate Bills 702, 703 and 704.

SB 702 would invest $508 million in federal dollars to fully fund the State Park Endowment Fund to provide a permanent funding source for the operation, maintenance, and capital improvements at Michigan’s state parks.

SB 703 would direct $250 million in federal funds to address the infrastructure backlog at state parks and recreation areas, $30 million for sports-related tourism and recreation in northern Michigan, and $30 million for the Mackinac Island state park fund.

SB 704 would invest $150 million in federal funds in a new Local Park Systems Grant Program to provide resources to local governments for the development or renovation of public recreation facilities and parks.

The bills have been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

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Senate approves Zorn county infirmary bill

LANSING, Mich. — Monroe County would be given oversight of its county infirmary under legislation sponsored by Sen. Dale Zorn and approved by the Michigan Senate on Wednesday.

“This reform would provide for greater local control and involvement in the operations of county infirmaries, including one in Monroe County,” said Zorn. R-Ida. “By giving the county board of commissioners the direct oversight of an infirmary in their county, we can give them the ability to ensure the facility is providing important and effective services to the people of their community.”

Senate Bill 569 would transfer the oversight of county infirmaries in Monroe and Midland counties from the state to the county board of commissioners in which the infirmary is located.

In Monroe County, the infirmary is the Fairview County Home, which provides shelter, food and medical care to chronically homeless residents with disabilities and has been in operation since 1878.

The bill is supported by the Michigan Association of Counties and has been sent to the House of the Representatives for further consideration.

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Zorn, battlefield park officials highlight funding for new education center in state budget

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn, Rep. Joe Bellino and River Raisin National Battlefield Park officials on Friday outlined the learning center that will be completed thanks to funding included in the fiscal year 2022 state budget.

“As a longtime supporter of applied learning, I have worked hard for four years to secure funding for this integrative center,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Once completed, the center will transform this national battlefield facility, help us preserve our history, and attract tourists to our region.

“Michigan State University projects the new education center will attract more than 600,000 visitors and serve over 100,000 K-12 students every year once it’s open.”

The new state budget includes $2 million to create 15,000 square feet of exhibits and facility modifications needed to open the River Raisin Great Lakes History and STEM Education Center, which was designed in partnership with Michigan educators.

“The National Park Service is grateful for the incredible partnership we have with the state of Michigan and for all of the work and support the state continues to provide through the leadership of Sen. Zorn, Rep. Bellino and many others,” said Scott Bentley, superintendent of the River Raisin National Battlefield Park. “The funding provided through this appropriation will advance the educational partnerships the battlefield has with Michigan schools by bringing alive the interactive exhibit concepts teachers have developed over the past eight years.”

Doug Chaffin, chairman of the River Raisin National Battlefield Park Foundation, outlined the foundation’s commitment to the park and its missions of historical preservation and education.

The goal of the center is to engage students and unpack the complex history that led to the War of 1812 in the Great Lakes, the formation of Michigan as a state, and the influence the battles had on U.S. policy.

“This is a great day for Monroe, and I look forward to seeing the center fully open and serving the public,” Zorn said.

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Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorDaleZorn.com/Photowire.

Photo caption: Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, outlines the River Raisin Great Lakes History and STEM Education Center that will be completed thanks to $2 million in funding included in the fiscal year 2022 state budget. The funds will help cover 15,000 square feet of exhibits and facility modifications needed to open the integrative learning center, which was designed in partnership with Michigan educators.