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State and local leaders highlight importance of revitalizing sites to strengthen communities, create jobs, protect environment

EGLE Director Phil Roos hosts a roundtable and tour at SVRC Marketplace in Saginaw, a $7 million investment made possible by EGLE’s Brownfield Program and state partnerships

Turning blighted and contaminated sites into spaces of opportunity is critical to revitalizing communities across Michigan. Since 2019, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has provided more than $151 million in brownfield grants, loans, and incentives to 359 sites across 50 communities, supporting over 19,229 jobs and $7.3 billion in private investments.

One such example of these investments is the SVRC Marketplace in Saginaw, the former home of The Saginaw News. Today, EGLE Director Phil Roos met with state and local leaders to tour the SVRC Marketplace and participate in a roundtable discussion about how brownfield redevelopment is transforming Michigan’s communities.

“Investing in the redevelopment of brownfield sites is as much about cleaning up the past as it is about creating a brighter future for our communities, our economy, and the environment,” Roos said. “The SVRC Marketplace is a shining example of how these efforts can revitalize local areas, create jobs, foster small businesses, and provide vibrant community spaces for residents to gather and enjoy. EGLE remains committed to continuing this vital work across the state, ensuring that every Michigan community with contaminated properties can experience the benefits of these transformative investments.”

The Saginaw News closed its downtown newsroom in 2012, leaving the city with a blighted building. It sat vacant for three years until a buyer laid out plans to redevelop the building and five adjacent properties. Those sites had been home to several businesses including a gas station and service center, a lumber warehouse, and the Michigan Saw Company. All six parcels were filled with foundry sand and contaminated with metals and five of them had some form of chemical compounds. The state invested more than $7 million in the project, including over $800,000 from EGLE to pay for the removal of contaminated soil, asbestos abatement, and demolition. The redevelopment led to a capital investment of $22 million, the creation of 100 full- and part-time jobs, and the removal of 6,634 tons of contaminated soil.

“SVRC holds tremendous gratitude for the leaders and organizations that made the vision of the SVRC Marketplace a reality,” said Denise M. Berry, president and CEO of SVRC Industries Inc. “We are especially fortunate for the support provided by EGLE through their Brownfield Program, which exists to address legacy pollution and rebuild sites to promote economic revitalization and sustainable communities. We are excited that state and local leaders are gathering with us as we approach the six-year anniversary of the SVRC Marketplace to see it flourishing!”

For the tour and roundtable discussion, Director Roos was joined by City of Saginaw Mayor Brenda Moore, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, local economic development leaders and small businesses to celebrate the impact of Michigan’s investment, discuss how the state can continue to be a good partner and share Michigan’s commitment to rebuilding communities to ensure they are cleaner and more prosperous for current and future generations.

"Since its opening in 2018, the SVRC Marketplace has played a major role in the revitalization of our downtown area,” Moore said. “What was once a blighted eyesore has been transformed to a thriving marketplace that has not only enhanced commerce and investment in the city, but also provided hundreds of jobs and opportunities for residents and business owners. It's exciting to come together to celebrate the transformation of the former Saginaw News building and to discuss the importance of investing in these blighted properties. I want to thank EGLE and all those who worked to make this historic redevelopment a reality."

EGLE’s Brownfield Program collaborates with communities and developers to create economic opportunity by putting contaminated properties back into productive use while protecting human health and the environment. The program provides technical guidance and financial incentives to evaluate and mitigate environmental risks, relying on scientific data to ensure the best long-term outcomes and stewardship of tax dollars.

“As legislators, we have a responsibility to invest in our communities to ensure they have the resources necessary to support their families and create job opportunities to thrive in this ever-changing economy,” said Amos O’Neal, State Representative of the 94th House District. “Revitalizing vacant and blighted buildings to improve quality of life for residents gives hope for a more prosperous future for all. The SVRC Marketplace is a prime example of the power of state and local partnerships to better our communities for current and future generations. Since having the opportunity to work closely on this project during my time as County Commissioner, I can say the SVRC Marketplace is a win for the Saginaw community, and I couldn’t be more proud of the work that got us here.”

For more information on EGLE’s Brownfield Development program, visit our website.

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