Project Aid, Tourism Website RFP Get State Approval

LANSING — State officials Tuesday announced Michigan Strategic Fund approval of five economic development actions, including the Superior Trade Zone as the state’s newest Next Michigan Development Corporation, business expansion and community improvement projects, and a Request for Proposals for the rebuild of the official Travel Michigan website, Michigan.org.

The projects are expected to generate as much as $340 million in new investments that could create or retain 431 jobs.

In action to benefit the Upper Peninsula economy, MSF approved the creation of the Superior Trade Zone. The trade zone is a government partnership of Delta and Marquette counties, the cities of Escanaba, Gladstone and Marquette, and the townships of Bark River, Ford River, Garden, Ishpeming, Maple Ridge, Nahma and Wells in Delta County, and Chocolay, Ely, Forsyth and Richmond in Marquette County.

As a Next Michigan Development Corporation, the Superior Trade Zone will promote business development that focuses on the assets and logistics infrastructure unique to the region. Included will be land near the Delta County Airport Industrial Park in Escanaba and the Telkyte Industrial Park at the former K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base in Marquette County.

Also approved was aid to Detroit Diesel Corp., a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, a manufacturer of diesel engines for the commercial truck market. The company plans to invest in plant upgrades and new equipment for a new medium-duty engine line at its plant in Redford Township, investing up to $208 million and creating 245 jobs. As a result, the company has been awarded a $1.3 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Mexico and Germany. Redford Township has offered support to the project in the form of business retention and marketing/promotional assistance.

The MSF also approved $4,133,214 in local and school tax capture for the Charlevoix County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to redevelop assets owned by St. Marys Cement Inc. in Charlevoix Township. The project will consist of alleviating brownfield conditions at the site and demolishing and removing existing outmoded structures and equipment. St. Marys Cement currently owns a cement manufacturing plant at the site and is evaluating plans to expand operations and modernize the cement making process in order to increase production capacity. The company is considering, as an expansion alternative, the long-term operation of its plant in Dixon, Ill. If the Charlevoix site is selected, the project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $130 million and create 10 full-time jobs as well as retain 139 jobs.

The MSF also awarded Clinton County’s Watertown Charter Township $1.4 million in Community Development Block Grant funds for infrastructure improvements for an expansion by Triton Industries Inc. The company, a Lansing-based manufacturer of pontoon boats sold under the brand name Manitou, has outgrown its current plant and has identified a successor building in Watertown Charter Township. The CDBG infrastructure grant will offset the cost of upgrading sewer capacity to support future job growth. The company plans to invest more than $2.6 million and create 37 jobs. The site in Watertown Township was chosen over a competing site in Indiana. Watertown Charter Township is contributing $169,600 toward the total infrastructure costs.

The MSF and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. also issued a Request for Proposals to solicit proposals for a rebuilt version of the Travel Michigan website, www.michigan.org. The company selected will be required to assist the MEDC and its partners in creating a new website for Michigan.org.

Technical and price proposals must be submitted to the MSF electronically to contractsandgrants@michigan.org by Monday, April 27 at 3 p.m. Proposals will not be accepted via U.S. mail or any other delivery method. Prospective bidders may submit questions regarding the RFP via email by Monday, March 30, 2015 at 3 p.m. to contractsandgrants@michigan.org. The MSF will not respond to questions that are not received by this date and time. In addition, questions that are phoned, faxed or sent through regular mail will not be accepted. Responses to all qualifying questions will be posted on Friday, April 3, by close of business on the MSF’s website, www.michiganbusiness.org/public-notices-rfps/. Additional details about the RFP will be announced later this week and posted at the MSF RFP website.

For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit michiganbusiness.org. For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit michigan.org. Michigan residents interested in seeking employment with any of Michigan’s growing companies should check mitalent.org, where more than 94,000 jobs are currently available in a variety of industries.

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