West Michigan Water Infrastructure Project Receives Final Approval from State Legislature
$60 million in SOAR Funding Approved by Senate and House Appropriations Committees
Muskegon, MI – Greater Muskegon Economic Development (GMED) and Lakeshore Advantage, in partnership with Muskegon County, announced today that the Michigan State Legislature has voted to approve the Southeast Regional Force Main infrastructure expansion project. The Michigan Strategic Fund board voted on October 5 to allocate $60 million to connect users of the Coopersville Wastewater Treatment Plant in northern Ottawa County to the Muskegon County Resource Recovery Center. On November 29, the Senate met and adopted the $60 million transfer of funds from the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) and on December 7, the House Appropriations Committee approved the project’s SOAR funding with a 23-3 vote.
“We are grateful to our legislators for getting this vital project across the finish line,” said Jennifer Owens, President of Lakeshore Advantage. “This is a major win for our region, and it’s a win for our state as this investment will allow our thriving agribusinesses to continue to grow here in Michigan.”
The Southeast Regional Force Main connection is a 30-inch force main wastewater line that will extend nearly 20 miles between the two communities, allowing food processors to take advantage of excess capacity at the Muskegon County Resource Recovery Center. “This is one of the largest appropriations Muskegon County has received from the State Government Office,” said Mark Eisenbarth, Muskegon County Administrator. “This project will impact our local municipalities by stabilizing sewer rates, providing additional access to wastewater treatment on the east side of Muskegon County as well as parts of Ottawa County, and will provide growth to our expanding agriculture community.”
Dairy producers fairlife, Applegate Dairy and Continental Dairy, as well as Swanson Pickle Company and DeVries Meats will connect to the new line once construction is complete. Total private investment from these companies is estimated at $187 million, and the addition of 145 jobs over the next 3-5 years. Engineering on the project has already started; construction will take approximately two-and-a-half years to complete.
“Fairlife is thankful for the full support of the local entities and the state representatives to see this through. We are proud to be part of this community for the last decade and look forward to our future growth here in Ottawa County,” said Tim Doelman, CEO of fairlife LLC.
“We are excited about the opportunities that this waste water infrastructure will bring to our area,” said Katie Swanson, CFO of Swanson Pickle. “Not only for Swanson Pickle, but also for agriculture and rural communities in Eastern Muskegon County and Northern Ottawa County.”
“This project is critical to the continued growth of the agri-processing industry in West Michigan,” said Marla Schneider, President/CEO of Greater Muskegon Economic Development. “Our regional partners and state legislators were key to the success in advocating for and approving the funding that will install infrastructure for significant business expansion and attraction opportunities in Muskegon and Ottawa counties.”
About Greater Muskegon Economic Development
Greater Muskegon Economic Development (GMED) was founded in 1999 as the primary contact for economic growth in Muskegon County. GMED’s focus is to leverage public and private investment to accelerate business growth, improve our community’s quality of place, advance job growth, and attract and retain talent in Muskegon County. Through utilization of our in-house and partner resources, GMED is uniquely positioned to help local businesses meet their economic objectives. To learn more, visit developmuskegon.org.
About Lakeshore Advantage
Lakeshore Advantage is a non-profit local economic development organization started in 2003 by forward-focused business and community leaders to ensure current and future generations want to live and work in our vibrant economy. Lakeshore Advantage assists primary employers, from startups to large world-class corporations, in West Michigan’s Allegan and Ottawa counties. In 2021, Lakeshore Advantage supported 21 business growth projects, resulting in $259.9 million in private investment and 694 new jobs. In addition, Lakeshore Advantage supported 271 primary employers, 62 startup companies, and administered a small business grant program that injected $1.8 million into the local economy. More at www.lakeshoreadvantage.com.
About Muskegon County
As a corporate entity, Muskegon County Dates from 1859. Muskegon County government serves the community interests of its citizens through the process of representation and proactive local government. The county delivers its many services with fiscal responsibility and appreciation of the community’s rich diversity while protecting its environmental resources and promoting the quality of life. Muskegon County government strives to maintain the highest standard of conduct, service, and collaboration in its county-wide leadership role. Muskegon County is located in West Michigan along the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline. Boasting three state parks, miles of multi-use trails, two major paddle sport rivers, and 26 miles of beaches, Muskegon County is the outdoor recreation hub of Michigan’s sunset coast, every season of the year. To learn more, visit www.co.muskegon.mi.us.