Fueling Cool Cities

Jul 21, 2006

Kettering is contributing to Flint's "coolness" factor and helping Michigan's economic success.

Kettering University was one of two recipients of a $100,000 Cool Cities grant awarded in Flint by the State of Michigan Wednesday, July 19. Kettering will receive $50,000 to support development of the Advanced Technology and Alternative Energy Research (ATAER) building slated to break ground in September.

The remaining $50,000 was awarded to the Genesee County Land Bank for development of 20 loft condominiums in the downtown area. The two projects will provide a catalyst for both quality housing and new jobs in Flint.

The ATAER will focus on fuel cell research and employ approximately 25 engineers and technicians. It is the first building in a planned 17-acre research park adjacent to the campus to the east. The 22,000 square-foot advanced fuel cell research center will strengthen and build upon growing research and development initiatives at the university.

"This support of the Advanced Technology and Alternative Energy Research laboratory will help position Michigan as a nation-wide leader in the emerging field of fuel cell technology," said Dr. Joel Berry, academic department head for Mechanical Engineering at Kettering.

Dan Kildee, Genesee County treasurer, said the County Land Bank/Kettering effort "epitomized the Cool Cities emphasis on collaboration." Kildee said the Cool Cities program is going to make a significant difference in Michigan and especially in Flint.

"We are making it happen, said State Representative Lee Gonzales, "we are going to have results that count."

"The Cool Cities funds allocated in Michigan this year will create a total of 500 full-time jobs throughout the state," said Robert Swanson, director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth. "The Michigan economy is undergoing a historical change from its industrial base to a more diversified base," Swanson said, adding that the Cool Cities program is designed to facilitate that change.

The Cool Cities program is part of Governor Jennifer Granholm's economic plan to revitalize Michigan's cities by retaining and attracting jobs and people to grow the state's economy. It functions across all levels of state government using an integrated approach. A Cool Cities designation brings with it a "tool box" of items provided by state agencies to help Michigan cities and neighborhoods.

Written by Dawn Hibbard