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      Facelift helps grow local businesses in Kalkaska

      Thanks to a $750,000 grant from Michigan Economic Development, downtown Kalkaska is getting a facelift that has been growing local businesses in the area.

      The digging has finally begun after months of anticipation for the Streetscape Project.

      New sidewalks, curbs, gutters, landscaping, benches, planters, waste receptacles and bicycle racks will be installed throughout the historic downtown.

      Kalkaska Downtown Development Director Cash Cook says that since the start of the project, the downtown area has had four historic building sold to local businesses. They haven't seen this much activity in years.

      Along with the businesses, Cook says they are in the planning process of adding new apartment to some historic buildings as well.

      "We have some kind of traction,â?? Cook says. â??People are seeing that weâ??re making an effort to be more business friendly, more walkable and this is a business opportunity to pick up some buildings that aren't being used presently.â??

      "So we're just excited about all the new faces that are showing up,â?? says Jamie Dunn, Just Between Friends Owner. â??We meet new people every day and I think overall it's going to help all of us in the community that are trying to build businesses to grow."

      Dunn says this experience has been a lot of fun to watch and the construction has not affected business. She believes this is a start to a new Kalkaska.

      Construction is scheduled to finish this fall.