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EGLE awards brownfield funding to two projects creating new jobs in northern Michigan

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is awarding two Brownfield Redevelopment Grants worth a combined $1.4 million to two commercial projects in northern Michigan.

Freshwater Research and Innovation Center, West Bay Shore Drive, Elmwood Township

The 9.24-acre site has been used for manufacturing, auto repair, and boat storage going back to 1971. It’s now contaminated with PFAS, metals, and petroleum compounds. A $1 million EGLE grant will pay for site assessments, removal of contaminated groundwater and soil, asbestos abatement, and demolition. The township expects the $28 million Freshwater Research Center to draw millions of dollars a year in research funding and create 30 new jobs. It will be owned by Discovery Center Great Lakes, which is already investing $7.5 million to redevelop Discovery Pier across the street from the work site. Construction on the Freshwater Research and Innovation Center is scheduled to be done in spring 2027. Contact EGLE Brownfield Coordinator Aaron Assmann,, 616-430-5275, for more information.

The Black Squirrel Bakery, North State Street, Hillman

A blighted former gas station is going to be turned into a bakery in a small village in Montmorency County. EGLE has been doing remediation work at the site since receiving complaints about petroleum vapors in the basement of a neighboring building in the early 1990s. EGLE funding was used to remove 103,000 gallons of groundwater and 430 cubic yards of soil between 1999 and 2013. Now a $400,000 EGLE Brownfield Redevelopment Grant will be used for new site assessments, the removal of another 700 tons of contaminated soil, a hazardous materials survey, and demolition of the existing building. Developer Jamie MacArthur plans to invest $500,000 to turn the site into a bakery and café that’s walking distance from shops, restaurants, and parks. She expects the redevelopment to create four new jobs. Construction is expected to be finished in winter 2024. Contact EGLE Brownfield Coordinator Julie Lowe,, 989-619-0617, for more information.

More than half of EGLE’s annual budget supports local projects, protects public health and the environment, and helps create economic growth and jobs for Michigan workers. Redevelopment increases the value of brownfield sites and other nearby properties. In 2023 EGLE awarded $31.3 million in brownfield incentives to 88 projects around Michigan.

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