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Announcing the GM on Main Street Grant Program Awardees


February 22, 2023 | Announcing the GM on Main Street Grant Program Awardees |

The GM on Main Street Grant Program has awarded six $25,000 grants to nonprofit organizations and municipal government entities to implement innovative placemaking initiatives in their local districts.

Made possible by General Motors, this grant program prioritized applications that were place-making focused, innovative, inclusive, feasible, and replicable or easily scalable for other Main Street programs. 

“General Motors is proud to have collaborated with Main Street America to support nonprofits and municipal government entities as they introduce place-making projects in their local communities,” said Terry Rhadigan, GM Vice President of Corporate Giving. “We look forward to seeing these inclusive, innovative projects come to life over the coming months for each of these communities to enjoy.”

The grantees are: 

The Foodie Commons project in Genesee County, Michigan will be led by Communities First, Inc. The project will activate an empty lot into a food truck park along with a flexible green space and outdoor seating. Located in downtown Flint a few blocks west from the main commercial corridor, the now underutilized lot will transform into a vibrant community destination. The overall goal for Foodie Commons is to address residents’ need for safe outdoor food and recreation while offering a menu of innovative programming. In addition to providing a space for day-to-day dining and recreation, the space will be used for a free outdoor movie series and other seasonal activities like corn hole, horseshoe, and ping pong. Outside of the scope of the grant, there is also a plan to rehabilitate a nearby art deco building into a commercial kitchen with a dining area that opens to publicly accessible outdoor seating which would provide affordable commercial space and education, training, and resources for aspiring food entrepreneurs.

The Alley Project: Broadway’s Back Door will be led by FireFish Arts, Inc. in Lorain County, Ohio. Drawing from previous successful pop-up events, the project will create a permanent art alley space with regular programming, art installations, and a walkway/bikeway. The Alley Project will include a mural designed by a local artist with AR/VR elements created in collaboration with students at the local community college, the installation of 10 herb and vegetable garden pots incorporating local art, and the creation of several temporary murals designed by local artists and at-risk youth, as well as on-going regular programming which will include performances, markets, and more.

The Mejorar Marine Park project in Tarrant County, Texas will be spearheaded by the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Marine Park is the largest and most central public space located in the center of the Historic Northside District in Fort Worth. Northside families recall walking to the park to listen to Tejano bands, enjoying the Cinco de Mayo and Deiz y Seis de Septiembre celebrations that used to be held annually. Unfortunately, the district now faces many challenges including litter and unkept yards, safety issues, needs for road improvements, etc. Through creative placemaking, the Historic Northside District hopes use arts and cultural expression to rejuvenate Marine Park, thus deepening a sense of place and reenergizing the neighborhood’s pride in the community. This project aims to reinvigorate Northside community pride by bringing music and creative programming back to its most valuable public space through a multi-phase approach: 1) Beautifying and improving the Marine Park pavilion, 2) Installing a temporary free-standing swing installation to create interest and engagement and 3) Executing several community weekend events to bring people back to the park and demonstrate how it can be utilized.

Little 5 Points Plaza Patio will be led by Little 5 Points Business Association in Fulton County, Georgia. The project will establish a community-oriented outdoor seating area in the heart of the business district. The area borders several restaurants and retail spaces, but currently lacks effective programming and utilization. This project will orient the plaza as a destination space at the intersection of community and commerce, including a seating area provided by a local restaurant with tables and chairs painted by local artists. Tables will include a QR code linking to nearby restaurant menus, special offers and promotions. The project will also staff servers to run food from restaurants to the outdoor diners.

The “A New Vision for Historic Dorr Street” project in Lucas County, Ohio, will be led by the City of Toledo, Department of Economic Development. The Dorr Street Corridor was once a cultural and economic hub for the African American community in Toledo, Ohio. The corridor was once a nine-block area with 70 Black-owned businesses but was almost completely destroyed with the construction of an interstate through the district in the mid ‘70s. Today, the only remnant of the former commercial corridor is tracts of grass covered by land owned by the City of Toledo. “While we cannot restore what was lost or fully heal the pain that is still felt in the community, we have the opportunity to create a new vision for Dorr Street, built upon the same values and ideals of its former vibrancy entrepreneurship, community resilience, and ownership,” wrote the City of Toledo’s Deputy Director of Economic Development, Sandy Sprang, in their grant application. With this grant, the City will work with an architectural and planning firm to conduct community engagement and provide recommendations for restoration. Through these recommendations, the city hopes to take the next step of engaging with business owners to set up businesses on Dorr Street, work with community organizations to engage in building renovations and tree canopy restoration, and the implementation of a new community resource center and office building to serve as an anchor establishment for the redevelopment of a neighborhood commercial corridor.

The Dave Grohl Alley Improvement Project in Trumball County, Ohio will be led by Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center, dba BRITE Energy Innovators. Dave Grohl Alley is currently an outdoor art exhibit, event space, and public gathering destination in the center of downtown Warren, Ohio. For residents, the alley is a source of pride and a symbol of economic revitalization. The alley was completed in 2009, with the Foo Fighters founder and Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl in attendance and performing at the opening ceremony. While the alley continues to be a catalyst for economic development in the community, BRITE aims to improve the safety, usability, and overall aesthetic of the alley while also implementing the latest clean energy technologies in order inspire community conversation and education to build the next generation of clean tech workers and entrepreneurs. The project will include the installation of a kinetic dance floor in an underpass that will provide power to the clean energy technology demonstrations available at BRITE’s offices. They will also work with local artists to create three kinetic sculptures, inspired by Foo Fighters or Nirvana music. Interpretive signage will also be installed to explain the technologies used, provide context to the installations, and connect visitors to more information and training.

For more information about the GM on Main Street grant program, please see the project webpage here.