State transportation economic development grant to foster 175 new jobs in west Michigan

LANSING, MI – The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is awarding state transportation economic development grants totaling $461,147 in Kent and Ottawa counties that will support the creation of 175 new jobs.

The Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) Category A grants will help leverage $26,370,000 in private investment, at a private-to-public ratio of about 57-to-1.MDOT

Agape Plastics, Inc., a provider of custom injection molding and assembly primarily for the automotive industry, is located on First Avenue, north of Lake Michigan Drive (M-45), in Ottawa County. The family-owned business is expanding its current 80,000-square-foot facility by approximately 54,400 square feet. The $14,040,000 expansion will help keep all operations under one roof and go toward creating 54 new jobs by 2018. One of Agape’s main concerns about expansion was the ability for their trucks to safely exit the Tallmadge Industrial Park. To improve safety and help alleviate congestion, the Ottawa County Road Commission, in partnership with MDOT, will install a traffic signal at the intersection of First Avenue and M-45. Without this improvement, Agape’s other option was to relocate their entire business to Ohio.

“MDOT has been a tremendous partner to our growing manufacturers,” said Jennifer Owens, president of Lakeshore Advantage, a west Michigan economic development group. “This grant will ensure Agape and all the tenants of the industrial park can get their products on the road quickly and into the hands of their important customers.”

The total cost of the project is $371,434, including $297,147 in TEDF funds and $74,287 from Tallmadge Township and the Ottawa County Road Commission.

Plasan North America Inc. (PNA) is expanding operations at its Wilson Drive facility in Walker. PNA is a Tier One supplier to defense contractors and a leader in composite material technology in the design and development of a variety of military ground vehicles. The company will invest $12,330,000 in the new facility and transfer 121 employees from Vermont to Walker by 2017. PNA’s greatest concern with the Walker location is congestion at Wilson Drive and 3 Mile Road for outbound freight traffic. Since traffic signals at this intersection are outdated and cannot be modified, the City of Walker will replace the signals and add a dedicated left-turn phase for southbound-to-eastbound traffic. This change will improve safety, address existing capacity issues, and accommodate current and future business expansions in the area.

“We are currently in a growth phase at our new operation in Walker,” said Dalton G. Blackwell III, vice president and general manager of PNA. “This grant will help alleviate congestion and will be a benefit, not only for our team, but all the companies using this intersection and the surrounding area. This will be greatly appreciated.”

The total cost of the project is $205,000, including $164,000 in TEDF funds and $41,000 from the City of Walker.

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