JACKSON, Mich. — Jackson Technology Park North is just a field now, but a $5.9 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant will help complete the project, which has been in the works for several years now.
The new industrial park will be located on a 181-acre piece of former farmland off of County Farm Road near Chemetall US and Technique Inc.
The money will go towards roads, sidewalks and sewer and water improvements. Blackman Township officials say they're anxious to get this project going.
"It allows space for existing businesses who have outgrown their current facilities to have a shovel-ready site to expand at," Blackman Township Supevisor Peter Jancek said. "And, it also allows for shovel-ready sites for new businesses to come and locate here."
This project is also expected to create 40 jobs, retain 136 jobs and potentially add $4 million in investments. According to Congressman Tim Walberg, the Republican who represents Michigan's 7th Congressional District, this is coming at the right time for Jackson.
"I think there's a strong feeling going on. The pandemic has slowed it down. But, if you just let that stay and don't continue moving forward as best as possible even though we've had a surge here in Jackson County and in the state of Michigan, I think that will ultimately be short-lived," he said. "This will make something ready to move forward on. Jobs are always good. This will give jobs for construction opportunities as well as what will result from the industrial park being up and running as well."
Blackman Township purchased the land, the former Jenkins dairy farm, for a little more than $900,000 in 2018. One side of the farmland has already been developed where Chemetall US and Technique Inc. are located. The project will be matched with $1.5 million from Blackman Township's water and sewer funds.
The next step in the project is to send out requests for bids, which should happen by June. Jancek says there are two businesses that have already expressed interest in locating to the new technology park. Construction may start by August but officials note some challenges with the current Interstate 94 corridor project underway.
Officials worked closely with the Jenkins family throughout the process and found a way to honor their legacy.
"They were very pleased with how it was developed across the street and it felt that it was a good legacy to their family with the way it was developed. In fact, the road going into the new development will be called Ayrshire Lane. Ayrshire is a Scottish breed of cattle that they used for their dairy operation and I thought it would be fitting to recognize the history of that property so that it is brought forward as part of that development," Jancek said.
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