There is an effort building momentum in Charlotte to revitalize the historic downtown district. Several organizations interested in continuing that momentum have teamed to offer local business owners an opportunity to learn how to take advantage of several grant programs designed specifically to aid in the revitalization process.

The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the City of Charlotte’s Community Development Department as well as representatives from the Michigan Economic Development Council (MEDC), Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) and Michigan State Housing and Development Authority (MSHDA) to provide an informational discussion on the kinds of state and federal grants available to business owners to help in rehabilitating, revitalizing or redeveloping the downtown business district.

The meeting will take place Wednesday, May 28 from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Fay’s Evelyn Bay in Charlotte.

“Grace (Boehmer) and I met with members of LEAP and learned about all of the different grant opportunities available,” said Garrett Bensinger, president of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce board of directors. “As a banker, there were several that I had never heard of and we figured it most likely that business owners would be unaware of them as well.”

Boehmer, executive director of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and Bensinger decided it would be in the best interest of local downtown business owners to make them aware of the opportunities that may be available to them.

“This meeting was set up to raise awareness of the opportunities out there,” Bensinger said. “I think we’re all interested in how we can make downtown a fully vibrant part of the community.”

Bryan Myrkle, community development director for the City of Charlotte, said there is a tremendous opportunity for downtown building owners to take advantage of grant opportunities available through MSHDA, which provides funding to revitalize upper story apartments downtown.

“Redeveloping some of the apartment spaces downtown is a great way for business owners and building owners to supplement their business,” Myrkle said. “Putting in an apartment or two can smooth out cash flow, providing steady revenue all year long.”

Myrkle said maintaining apartments above existing businesses also ensures continued maintenance on buildings, which speaks to the sustainability of the entire building and the viability of the space.

“These opportunities should appeal to all building owners downtown,” Bensinger said.

For more information, or to RSVP — which is not mandatory — call the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce at (517) 543-0400.