February 14, 2018 -- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is awarding a state transportation economic development grant that will support 66 new jobs in Emmett Township, Calhoun County. The Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) Category A grant totaling $294,890 will leverage $24,200,000 in private investment, at a private/public investment ratio of nearly 82-to-1.
Located on F Drive North in Emmett Township, Flex-N-Gate Battle Creek, LLC, stamps and manufactures welded assemblies for several major automotive companies. F Drive North provides the only roadway access to the facility and is in poor condition. A planned expansion at the facility will bring increased employee and commercial traffic, accelerating roadway deterioration. To address this problem, the Calhoun County Road Department (CCRD) will widen and resurface F Drive North from approximately 4,300 feet west of M-311 to M-311. The existing paved shoulders will also be widened and the road's all-season status preserved.
This roadway improvement project played a role in Flex-N-Gate choosing to invest in Emmett Township, rather than other company facilities in Indiana or Alabama. Included in the planned expansion is a $24,200,000 investment in new and refurbished manufacturing space, updated infrastructure, and two new large stamping presses. The expansion will result in the creation of 66 new jobs.
"For a manufacturing facility like ours, truck traffic and employee traffic over a sturdy infrastructure of roads is of utmost importance," said Bill Beistline, Flex-N-Gate vice president of Procurement. "It is critical that the roads are wide enough and in good enough condition to handle the flow of the increased traffic. The F Drive North reconditioning project is a critical element to the success of our Flex-n-Gate Battle Creek expansion project. The reconditioning will also be a sign to other companies that Battle Creek and the state of Michigan will get behind projects of this magnitude and insure that all aspects of improvement are thought of and in place."
The overall cost of this project is $491,484, including $294,890 in TEDF Category A funding and $196,594 from CCRD.
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.