Park will ease space constraints in Boyne City

BOYNE CITY – Boyne City will soon be home to a second industrial park–Boyne City Air Industrial Park II–adjacent to the original one off M-75 in the southeast corner of the city.

The original park, platted in the 1980s, is now full, and the city has received numerous requests for additional industrial space from both small, local companies, as well as firms from outside the area. One large, publicly-traded company has expressed interest in the location, according to Tim O’Leary, Boyne City Planner.

The city acquired the 116-acre property for the new park in 1998 using an Urban Land Assembly loan. Infrastructure costs, including underground utilities, will be funded through a $1.3 million loan from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and an $835,000 grant from the Federal Economic Development Administration.

The 52 buildable acres will be platted into 16 lots, ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 acres. The City opened up the bidding process for building the park’s infrastructure in September and O’Leary expects construction to get underway soon. The project is slated for move-in by next April 1–“a very fast timeline,” he said.

Like the first park, Phase II will be designated a Certified Business Park by the MEDC, ensuring that it meets certain requirements like deed restrictions on the appearance and style of the buildings, for example.

“It’s an incentive to outside firms interested in coming here. They’ll know we’ve met the standards,” O’Leary noted.

A couple of companies have already expressed interest in obtaining lots and building plants. O’Leary is confident that within a short period of time, the City will meet its target of creating a minimum of 65 jobs with the new park. Once that happens, MEDC will forgive 50 percent, or $650,000, of the $1.3 million loan.

One of the companies that has expressed strong interest in building a plant will add at least 35 jobs, leaving 30 positions to be created by owners of the remaining 14 lots.

The park will offer “an opportunity to provide jobs to people who want to move here as well as those who don’t want to leave,” said O’Leary. “Being able to offer industrial jobs provides more of a living wage than service jobs.”

While the new construction will increase the City’s tax base, “the main goal of the local Economic Development Corporation is not necessarily to increase the base, but to create better paying jobs. That’s been the goal from the outset.”

He expects to see primarily light manufacturers move into the park, rather than high-tech or heavy manufacturers.

The Phase II property abuts the Boyne River Valley, and a local organization is in the process of securing easements from adjacent property owners to build a recreational trail along the bluff line. The trail would extend from Lake Charlevoix to Boyne Falls.

“This is a critical piece as we go into the planning process,” said O’Leary. In mid-September, the organization secured permission from the City Commission “to keep that option open. So, six lots will have a potential recreational trail along their edge–a unique asset to the park.” BN