Gov. Whitmer announces Transportation Economic Development Grants Supporting 168 jobs in Menominee County and 164 jobs in Genesee County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    

October 14, 2021  

Contact: Press@Michigan.gov  

  

Gov. Whitmer announces Transportation Economic Development Grants Supporting 168 jobs in Menominee County and 164 jobs in Genesee County  

  

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today announced the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has awarded two state Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) grants that will support a total of 332 new and existing jobs in Menominee and Genesee Counties. The grants will help fund infrastructure improvements related to Performance Corporation's expansion in the Village of Carney in Menominee County and Fessler & Bowman, Inc.'s new and expanded national headquarters in Grand Blanc Township, Genesee County.    

  

"As we put Michigan back to work, these grants demonstrate the collaborative efforts around economic development and infrastructure we are taking here in Michigan," said Governor Whitmer. "We will stay laser-focused on creating hundreds of good-paying jobs for Michiganders while ensuring safe roads for drivers, helping us emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever before. Let's get it done."  

  

Village of Carney, Menominee County  

"We are in the process of significantly increasing the output of our manufacturing plant here in Carney. The improvement of Guard Street is an integral part of important infrastructure to support our facility expansion in Carney," said James W. Brill, chief executive officer, Performance Corp. "It will allow for efficient increased traffic flows which is essential for our project to continue. This will have a profound, positive economic impact to the agricultural industry, providing benefits to the Michigan forestry sector, as well as the whole state of Michigan, further securing Michigan's agricultural economy. We appreciate the work MDOT has done to assist in insuring Guard Street will be improved to meet our transportation needs. Employees, customers and drivers in the area will all benefit from this collaborative project."  

  

"The Guard Street project in Carney offers sustainable, year-round support to a primary business in our village, which employs enough full-time people to match 30 percent of our own population," said Eric Janofski, Village of Carney village president. "This project is a major step forward to support economic development in our village and to promote good faith between village leadership and other future businesses." 

  

Performance Corp. is a leading wood products manufacturer located in Seymour, Wisconsin. The company manufactures more than 3 million pallets, crates, and boxes each year. Their production facility is supported by their sawmill operation located in the Village of Carney in Menominee County. The sawmill generates more than 20 million board feet of lumber annually and recycles waste product in the forms of firewood, animal bedding, and boiler fuel. 

  

Carney, with its convenient access to raw materials and the state trunkline system, was selected as the site of Performance Corp.'s upcoming expansion. However, the condition of Guard Street, the road upon which the sawmill is located, presented an obstacle to the company's expansion plans. The road is weight-restricted, which forces the company to reduce their truck loads when frost laws are in effect, thereby increasing their transportation costs. In addition, Guard Street's pavement is in extremely poor condition and would not be able to withstand the expected increase in heavy truck traffic. The company indicated that without significant road improvements, they would consider expanding at their Wisconsin location instead, which would result in the loss of 52 jobs in Carney. 

  

To assure continued access to the transportation network and enable full truck loads during seasonal weight restrictions, the Village of Carney will rebuild Guard Street from G-18W Road to approximately 3,100 feet north of G-18W Road. These improvements will allow Performance Corp. to continue with their $7.5 million expansion, resulting in the retention of 52 existing jobs in Carney and the creation of 78 new full-time jobs over the next three years. An additional 38 employees will also transfer from Wisconsin to Michigan over this same time period. 

  

The total project cost is $483,992, including $387,194 in Category A funds and $96,798 from the Village of Carney and Performance Corp.  

 

 Grand Blanc Township, Genesee County  

"As a national corporation and a leader in the construction industry, we conducted a nationwide search to determine the location of our future corporate headquarters," said Jim Malenich, president and chief executive officer of Fessler & Bowman, Inc. "Improvements to Baldwin Road and the supporting infrastructure are critical to our transportation needs and was instrumental in our decision to relocate our corporate headquarters to Grand Blanc. The investment from the state of Michigan, Genesee County, and Grand Blanc Township will allow Fessler & Bowman, Inc. to remain in the same county we have proudly been a part of since 1963. We are grateful to MDOT and their commitment to Genesee County. Their collaborative efforts will benefit the existing business community and bring economic growth to Grand Blanc Township."  

  

"The Charter Township of Grand Blanc has invested a great deal of energy into creating an environment within the DDA District that will attract and retain cutting edge technology-driven businesses, and the improvement to the Baldwin Road corridor is vital to achieving the vision. Without the upgrade to the infrastructure, we could not sustain the job-creating economic growth projected for this development zone," said Dennis Liimatta, township superintendent of Grand Blanc Township. "We truly appreciate the cooperation and assistance from the Genesee County Road Commission (GCRC) and MDOT to improve the safety, and provide for efficient traffic flow, in this growing commercial district." 

  

Fessler & Bowman, Inc. is a leading national concrete and earthwork contractor headquartered in Flushing, with regional offices in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Louisiana. The company has outgrown its Flushing campus and is exploring new locations for their national headquarters.  

  

A location on Baldwin Road in Grand Blanc Township, with its proximity to I-75, was identified as a potential location for their new 80,000-square-foot headquarters. Baldwin Road is not currently an all-season road, however, and Fessler & Bowman requires an all-season road for their operations. In addition, the pavement on Baldwin Road is nearing the end of its useful life and requires replacement. Without these road improvements, the company indicated they would consider expanding at one of their southern locations instead, which would result in the loss of 112 jobs to Michigan. 

  

To assure continued access to the transportation network and enable continued operations during seasonal weight restrictions, the GCRC will rebuild Baldwin Road from Dort Highway to New Tech Drive. Additional work includes widening the road from two lanes to three with the addition of a center turn lane, new right-turn lanes at intersections, paved shoulders, geometric upgrades, and drainage improvements.  

 

These improvements will allow Fessler & Bowman to continue with their $10 million expansion, which will result in the retention of 112 existing jobs and the creation of 52 new full-time positions. 

             

The total project cost is $5,128,649, including $1,717,613 in Category A funds and $3,411,036 from the GCRC and Grand Blanc Township.   

 

Enacted in 1987 and reauthorized in 1993, the TEDF helps finance highway, road and street projects that are critical to the movement of people and products, and getting workers to their jobs, materials to growers and manufacturers, and finished goods to consumers. 

  

TEDF "Category A" or "Targeted Industries Program" grants provide state funding for public roadway improvements that allow road agencies to respond quickly to the transportation needs of expanding companies and eliminate inadequate roadways as an obstacle to private investment and job creation. Eligible road agencies include MDOT, county road commissions, cities and villages. More information about the program is available online at www.Michigan.gov/TEDF 

 

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