JACKSON COUNTY, MI – Construction on a new industrial park in Blackman Township is expected to begin in 2022.
The 145-acre Jackson Technology Park North on County Farm Road is expected to create 40 jobs, retain 136 jobs and generate $4 million in private investment, officials said.
“Hopefully by the time we’re done, we’ll have this mile-and-a-half stretch of residential, industrial and commercial that works together,” said Joe Bentschneider, Jackson County Department of Transportation senior civil engineer.
Manufacturing businesses interested in locating in the park can purchase parcels ranging from three to 40 acres in size, beginning in 2022, said Tim Rogers, CEO of the Enterprise Group of Jackson.
The Blackman Township Local Development Financing Authority purchased the property for $907,400 in 2018. The plot is north of an existing 80-acre industrial park previously purchased by the Blackman Township LDFA and sold to companies.
The project also received a $5.92 million grant for development of the park from the U.S. Economic Development Administration in April 2021. The grant was made available through the CARES Act Recovery Assistance Program.
Blackman Township is also providing $1.5 million. There is no local tax increase or local debt connected to the new industrial park since the township has already allocated funds for it, Rogers said.
Related: $6M coming for development of new industrial park on Jackson County farmland
This grant also will help improve safety for residential pedestrians on County Farm Road, including Trilliam Pointe Apartment Housing and Windham Hills Manufactured Home Community, Bentschneider said. The shoulders on the road will be widened to four feet and sidewalks will be installed, he said.
“A lot of those residents just walk on the shoulder of the road,” Rogers said. “It is extremely dangerous. We took that into account during the beginning when the county did the design.”
Design on the project design is currently 60% complete, said Angela Kline, JCDOT deputy managing director. With the preliminary phase of the project winding down, the next step is putting together a biddable construction package to send to contractors, Bentschneider said.
“It’s been figuring out all the little nitty gritty things — developing the final cost estimate and putting it together in a plan set to send it out,” he said.
Environmental coordination was also conducted on the land to check the impact the industrial park may have on the environment, Bentschneider said.
“We just need to make sure we’re not negatively impacting any wetlands or ponds in the area,” Bentschneider said. “We also have to coordinate with the U.S. of Fish and Wildlife Services to make sure were not negatively impacting any federally endangered species.”
Additionally, since the property for the industrial park was originally used for farm land, Bentschneider said the U.S. Department of Agriculture also needed to verify the land was not valuable for certain crops.
A new traffic signal at Technology Drive is being added to County Farm Road, Kline said. Technology Drive is also being extended by half a mile north toward the Blackman Township property.
Related: 181 acres of farmland to become Blackman Township industrial park
A public input session is planned for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 30, in the Northwest Early Elementary School gym, 3735 Lansing Ave. A virtual event is also set for noon to 1 p.m. June 30 Those interested can register for the event here.
It is unknown when construction of the park will be complete due to COVID-19 impacting availability of commercial construction materials, Bentschneider said.
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