Freshwater Research & Innovation Center Scores $1.6 Million In Federal Funding
By Craig Manning | Jan. 11, 2023
Discovery Center & Pier will receive $1.6 million in federal funding to put toward building a new Freshwater Research & Innovation Center in Traverse City, the organization announced Tuesday. The money is part of the $1.7 trillion federal spending bill that Congress passed in late December.
The Ticker broke the news last July that a cadre of local organizations were working together on an ambitious plan to build a Freshwater Research & Innovation Center at Discovery Pier. That group – which includes not just Discovery Center & Pier, but also 20Fathoms, Traverse Connect, Northwestern Michigan College (NMC), and Michigan Technological University – is looking to establish the Grand Traverse region as “the hub for education, research, development, and commercialization of freshwater and marine technologies and their applications affecting the Great Lakes and similar freshwater systems throughout the world.” The project would cost an estimated $60 million.
Hans Van Sumeren, director NMC’s Great Lakes Water Studies Institute, told The Ticker in July that project partners were pursuing multiple avenues for public funding, both at the state and federal levels. The $1.6 million appropriation from the federal government is the first big-money pledge toward the Freshwater Research & Innovation Center, and helps bring the project one step closer to reality.
According to a press release sent out yesterday by 20Fathoms and Discovery Center & Pier, the money will be used for “engaging an architect in design work and site planning, as well as financial planning,” and “to help build a classroom, lab, and docks for research vessels on the pier, which will enable water-related research projects to begin at the facility as early as summer 2023.”
Warren Call, president and CEO of Traverse Connect, dubbed the $1.6 million appropriation
“an important bipartisan vote of confidence from lawmakers” and a key catalyst to “securing further state and federal investment in the project.” 20Fathoms Executive Director Eric Roberts, meanwhile, called the allocation “a real win for Traverse City” that will help project partners put their plans into motion.
“A lot of work has already been completed in order to make the Freshwater Research & Innovation Center a reality, and this funding will allow us to take the important next steps toward building a freshwater innovation hub on West Bay,” Roberts concluded.Comment