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Sunday, 30 March 2014 22:00

Investment builds in Mecosta County

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Mecosta County might not come to mind as a hotbed for development, but the community has been busy lately.

With $33 million of recently completed projects and $85 million worth of commercial and institutional development, expansions and renovations in the works, the area is beginning to regain the ground it lost during recession, said one local economic developer.

“We’ve seen an uptick (in projects) and the economy here is stable, but we still haven’t gained everything back that was lost,” said Jim Sandy, president of the Mecosta County Development Corp.

Recent local projects include the ongoing expansion of Haworth Inc.’s facility, a $6.8 million renovation of the Mecosta County Medical Center and a $5 million investment by Spectrum Health into the Big Rapids facility after a recent merger. Additionally, Ferris State University is investing almost $35 million into renovations to its core campus, Sandy said.

A coalition of local governments is also working on a 5.7-acre brownfield project at the former site of a 100-year-old industrial operation. Ideas for the property, which has river frontage, are still up in the air as zoning isn’t yet decided, but the use is likely to stay industrial given the surrounding properties, Sandy said.

“The beauty of all this is the diversity,” he said of the Mecosta County business community. “Our eggs aren’t all in one basket.”

Despite all the good development news, the area has struggled to tell its story, Sandy said.

“We’ve got a number of projects in the $1 million to $4 million range and downtown is experiencing some renovation,” Sandy said. “The hope is to play off that and deliver on what’s happening here.”

Read 2609 times Last modified on Sunday, 30 March 2014 22:21

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