Kalkaska industrial park proposal perking

KALKASKA – The village of Kalkaska is revving up for thedevelopment of a second 28-acre industrial park.

“The pre-application for state and federal grants was recentlyapproved, and now we begin the formal application process,” said MelHill, village manager.

Assuming the grants are received, the village will use the money,approximately $522,000, to build the park’s roads, water, sewers,gas, and electric.

Presently, the village and the Kalkaska Industrial DevelopmentCorporation (IDC), which owns the property, are in the process offinalizing their preliminary purchase agreement. Initially, IDC wasasking $80,000 for the property. The village will pay approximately$55,000, the amount IDC has invested in the parcel less about $25,000it has recovered from a couple of lot sales, explained Hill.

Once purchased, the village will make payments to IDC based on thesale of individual lots, until they reach the amount owed. “So nomoney is coming out of taxpayer coffers,” Hill explained.

Hill, who has served as police chief for the past 25 years andvillage manager for the past 18 months, believes the park will aidgrowth and the availability of good jobs.

“There is a good workforce here and a lot of interest in movinghere,” he said. “And we want to see our kids stay close to home. Wehope to bring in more companies to make that happen.”

Industrial Park I is already home to companies like Alken-Ziegler,Inc., Contract Compression, Baremans Dairy, Hague Equipment Co. ofMichigan, Inc., and others. The 16 companies employ nearly 400workers.

Industrial Park II is going to focus more on manufacturing andR&D. To ensure growth in that direction, the village will developzoning ordinances that are clearer and more easily enforced thanexisting covenants, explained Hill.

The park will be located across the street from Industrial Park Iand contain roughly 12 lots. That could vary, though, “since ithasn’t been platted yet, and we have to figure out what other needs,like sewer and water, there will be,” Hill explained.

If all goes as planned, designs could be drawn up early this yearfor bids in late spring or early summer. Construction could begin byearly fall.

Lots in the park would be restricted to business use andoperation. The village may also look at lease-to-purchasearrangements.

An incentive for businesses to locate in the park could be taxabatements of up to 50 percent for up to 12 years.

At the last village council meeting, abatements of 50 percent weregranted to two companies in Industrial Park I, whose combinedpurchases and improvements totaled $2 million.

“We’re going to do whatever we can to encourage industry to movehere,” Hill said. BIZNEWS