FROM MLIVE: State transportation economic development grant
to support creation of 99 new jobs in Walker
November 14, 2018 -- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has awarded a $1,770,000 Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) Category A grant to the City of Walker for safety and capacity improvements. The grant will leverage $6,300,000 in private investment, at a private/public ratio of more than 4-to-1.
Michigan-based BISSELL Homecare, Inc. is a global floorcare/homecare business headquartered in Walker. Its headquarters and cleaning solutions facility growth has been hindered by the existing Walker Avenue bridge over the Coopersville and Marne Railway. The structure is currently weight-restricted and in need of repair. Additionally, the proximity of BISSELL's sole access drive to the structure does not allow for adequate site distances for all motorists.
To improve site distances and allow unrestricted access to the BISSELL facility, the City of Walker will remove the structure and replace it with an at-grade railroad crossing. Removal of the structure and construction of the grade crossing will enable the city to widen the roadway to four lanes, allowing for increased accessibility for commercial and employee traffic.
Bridge removal was a significant factor in BISSELL's decision to renovate and repurpose their existing headquarters. While making its decision to upgrade the facility, the company worked closely with the City of Walker on addressing their site concerns. The relationship provided BISSELL the confidence to invest $6,300,000 to renovate the building, resulting in the creation of 99 new jobs.
"BISSELL has been working closely with MDOT and the City of Walker on plans for a grade level railroad crossing on Walker Avenue," said Mark Bissell, BISSELL Homecare, Inc. chairman and chief executive officer. "Our expansion plans continue to focus on our Walker facility, and we see this change as a positive step and an opportunity to create a safe environment for our associates."
The total cost of the project is $2,950,000, including $1,770,000 in TEDF Category A funding and $1,180,000 from the City of Walker.
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.