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Michigan lawmakers continue work on plan to help redevelop abandoned sites

MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Michigan lawmakers are acting on a plan that may help redevelop abandoned sites like the Pontiac Silverdome.

The Michigan Thrive Initiative is tailored to unleash five billion dollars in redevelopment projects in Michigan.

The bill has passed the State Senate and are now in the Tax Policy Committee in the State House. The architect of the bill tells Newschannel 3 that the legislation won’t cost taxpayers a penny.

Currently, developers in Michigan say they face funding gaps to clear abandoned land before they can breathe new life into a city.

Michigan Senator Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, has an ambitious plan that will fill the developer’s gap by providing various tax incentives.

“This will likely be the most significant urban redevelopment bill package that we have seen in decades in Michigan,” said Sen. Horn.

Horn says the Michigan Thrive Initiative would cost taxpayers nothing. The bills authors say the legislation would require the private sector to first make their investments, rebuild the sites, and fill the area with jobs and people before they would receive the state incentives.

“This bill, by law, will have to demonstrate a net fiscal gain to the treasury,” said Sen. Horn.

Horn is highlighting potential projects not only in Detroit, but in all corners of the state including;

- Restoring the Grand River and developing the water front in Grand Rapids.

- Redeveloping this four-block area in downtown Kalamazoo to create a more vibrant downtown.

- Develop a tourism haven in downtown Sault Ste. Marie.

- Attract a new development on this vacant plot of land in Petosky, also known as the "Hole."

- Plus help fund a comprehensive, multi project development in downtown Saginaw to attract business.

The Michigan House is now considering the plan.

"I think this bill isn't done yet," said Representative Jon Hoadley.

Kalamazoo Democrat Jon Hoadley says he wants to see the right mix of incentives before he gives the proposal the green light.

"We have to make sure we are not creating a handout that's a corporate giveaway for folks regardless of where those projects may occur," said Rep. Hoadley.

Governor Rick Snyder had some concerns with the original bill because most the projects were Detroit focused.

Now that the new bill includes projects from around the state, the governor thinks lawmakers are on the right path.

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