Big News For Big Rapids
Game Changing Facility to make its home in Mecosta County?
Update!! To support the company’s transformational investment, the Michigan Strategic Fund today approved:
-A Critical Industry Program grant through the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (“SOAR”) Fund in the amount of $125 million for the creation of up to 2,350 jobs in the Big Rapids area;
-A 30-year MSF-designated Renaissance Zone to Mecosta County valued at $540 million;
-A $50 million Strategic Site Readiness Program performance-based grant through the SOAR Fund will be administered by The Right Place to assist with infrastructure improvement.
There is big news out of Mecosta County where the construction of a multi-billion dollar battery component plant was given the green light by local governments last Monday night. Green and Big Rapids townships voted unanimously to approve a Renaissance Zone designation for property in the Industrial Park along with other adjoining property and the County Commission followed up with approving the application for the Ren Zone resolution to be sent to the state.
The joint meeting of the three governing bodies drew a large crowd that was overwhelmingly supportive of the initiative. Gotion, Inc., a subsidiary of Guoxuan High-Tech Co.and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of the batteries chose the county out of 40 possible locations in North America. The Big Rapids area is one of two potential sites for the project, according to Gotion CEO Chuck Thelen.
The proposed plant would mean jobs. Lots of jobs.
The company projects 300-500 positions once the plant opens with over 2000 to be added over the next decade which would make them the largest employer in the region.
“We are encouraged to receive support from Green Charter Township, Big Rapids Charter Township and Mecosta County regarding the Renaissance Zone designation for Gotion’s multi-billion-dollar investment in the area,” said The Right Place CEO Randy Thelen. “ As well, we applaud all our community partners who have invested time and resources to champion this effort. There are still numerous steps to be taken before this project becomes a certainty, but this is a terrific start toward positioning the region at the center of West Michigan’s growing mobility and EV sector.”
The next step involves bringing the Ren Zone proposal to the Michigan Strategic Fund board to vote on an incentive package for the company. The MSF is scheduled to vote on the proposal October 5th. With that approval would come a commitment from the state for providing assistance for the needed infrastructure a facility of this magnitude would require with roads, sewers, water, etc.
Mecosta County Board of Commissioners Chair Bill Routley sees the project as being a true game changer for the region.
“This will be great for all of our surrounding counties. It looks to be a huge income generator for our families and they project the income for manufacturing workers will average around $60,000 a year. And of course there will be a lot of tech jobs involved as well.
“Gotion is also strongly committed to using local contractors so if there are any that need work there will be plenty of it.”
Routley had high praise for the organizations that came together to help make this happen and singled out the collaboration of the townships and county boards.
“The number one victory here was to watch the two townships and county come together on this. That alone was great to see.”
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