GRAND RAPIDS — The Kent County Department of Public Works and The Right Place Inc. have announced a development partnership for the Kent County Sustainable Business Park.
The Department of Public Works announced last year it was issuing a request for information to seek potential tenants for the proposed business park on about 200 acres that it owns in Byron Township and Allegan County, adjacent to its South Kent Landfill.
Under the terms of a three-year agreement, economic development firm The Right Place will help with the planning of the business park through business development and infrastructure planning. It will also assist the county with managing community partnerships and identifying new sources of funding for the business park.
“The Sustainable Business Park will significantly reduce the amount of trash going into landfills and attract investment from companies that can convert waste into usable products,” Darwin Baas, director of the department of public works, said in a statement.
Building a sustainable business park to transition away from landfilling is Kent County DPW’s solution to decreasing the growing amount of solid waste buried in landfills, as MiBiz previously reported. Kent County DPW processes more than 1 billion pounds of waste each year, and estimates 75 percent of that waste could be reused, recycled or converted.
The business park could generate $500 million in direct private sector capital investment, and 150 jobs could be created by processing and waste sorting alone, according to The Right Place.
In October, the Kent County DPW board approved a master plan for the business park. Local and national experts helped draft the plan, which also incorporated recommendations on how the county can transition from relying on landfills toward a sustainable materials management system where waste materials are either reused in new production processes or products, recovered or converted into renewable energy.
As part of the approval process, the board authorized the DPW to form a business development team, which includes The Right Place, to implement the plan.
The development of a sustainable business park is critical to reaching another goal set by the DPW: reducing Kent County-generated municipal, commercial and industrial solid waste going into landfills by 90 percent by 2030.