February 14, 2018 -- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is awarding two state transportation economic development grants that will support 206 new jobs in Gladwin and Sanilac counties. The Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) Category A grants totaling $596,728 will leverage $18,000,000 in private investment, at a private/public investment ratio of more than 30-to-1.
Kember Kreative Interiors Inc., a leading manufacturer of engineered hardwood flooring products, is planning to move into a vacant facility on Lyle Road in Beaverton Township. However, the road's surface is in poor condition and the expected increase in traffic will accelerate that deterioration. Also, the road is not built to all-season standards, which would force Kember Kreative Interiors to reduce loads during seasonal weight restrictions, increasing costs.
The Gladwin County Road Commission (GCRC) will reconstruct Lyle Road from M-18 to Wade Road, bringing the roadway up to all-season standards. These upgrades will allow Kember Kreative Interiors to continue with their $5,000,000 expansion, resulting in 25 new full-time positions over the next three years.
"This upgrade will ensure that we won't be hindered by the extra transportation costs that would have resulted from seasonal weight restrictions," said Mark Schmitz, Kember Kreative Interiors Inc. chief financial officer. "We are excited that these improvements will benefit not only our business but the other business and residences in the surrounding area."
The overall cost of the project is $730,811, including $438,486 in TEDF Category A funding and $292,325 from Kember Kreative Interiors and GCRC.
Huron Inc. is one of North America's largest designers and producers of complex tubular assemblies and precision-machined components for the automotive industry. After considering locations in Kentucky and Ohio, Huron Inc. is constructing a $13,000,000 expansion at the company's current facility located at the M-25/Mortimer Line Road intersection in Worth Township. The road's existing gravel surface does not meet all-season standards, which would require truck loads to be reduced during weight restrictions, increasing costs.
The Sanilac County Road Commission will reconstruct 850 feet of Mortimer Line Road at M-25, changing the road surface from gravel to asphalt, while also widening the shoulders and improving drainage. These upgrades will enable Huron Inc. to proceed with their expansion, resulting in 181 new full-time positions over the next three years.
"We are excited that we were able to make our expansion project work in Michigan and keep the jobs locally," said Jerry Solar, Huron Inc. president and CEO. "As one of the largest employers in Sanilac County, it is important to us that we minimize the impact of our growth on the local community. We feel that this grant will allow us to make the road improvements necessary in order to lessen the impact on the residents and ultimately make the traffic conditions safer. MDOT and the State of Michigan have been very helpful assisting us through this process, which reinforces our belief that Michigan is a great place to live and do business."
The overall cost of the project is $263,738, including $158,242 in TEDF Category A funding and $105,496 from Huron Inc.
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.