2017-12-07 / News

Chamber breakfast features development news

By Paula K. Schmidt
810-452-2647 • pschmidt@mihomepaper.com

GRAND BLANC TWP. — Although the long-anticipated Meijer store appears to be about three years' in the future, there is plenty of other development to be excited about on their 500 acres in the southern half of the township.

Genesys-Ascension vice president of Business Development Nick Evans said they continue to move forward on their long-term plan of development of the Genesys Campus — which they anticipate and hope will spur economic development, eventually bringing longterm, high-paying jobs to the region.

This includes an eventual 4-500 Ph.D. level jobs in the research and development part of the long-range plan. This would include expanding already established relationships with the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor and Flint), Michigan State University and Wayne State University and creating a ‘life-sciences’ corridor similar to what has recently occurred in downtown Flint.

Also as part of Genesys- Ascension’s ‘total commitment’ to the area, Evans highlighted the already in progress Senior Village which will include Skilled Nursing care, Independent and Assisted Living, as well as a proposed veteran’s housing facility, and upcoming health-related retail — in which he mentioned as a possibility the much longed-for Trader Joe’s.

More than 19 acres are being donated for the extension of Dort Highway, anticipated to begin construction next spring; and an essential piece to the plans Evans’ detailed at the recent Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast meeting.

Current construction of the 90,000 square foot skilled care center is ongoing in the southwest corner of the property and will be a ‘state of the art’ facility, Evans said. They anticipate a spring 2018 opening featuring high level inpatient rehabilitation as well as residential hospice care. This will be 12 of the total footprint of 36 acres slated for the Senior Village.

He added Genesys- Ascension representatives will be testifying before the state senate next week to educate them on the advantages local care can have in caring for veterans via the Veteran’s Choice program.

The plan is not only to have on-site access to health care for veterans but a residential facility for the aged who need more regular medical attention as well. The retail development is to be placed on the Holly Road frontage and is in the beginning stages of seeking proposals for that from national developers.

Evans said those bids specifics would have requirements including weighting bids which use local construction companies more favorably than outside companies. Evans said when fully developed they could support about 192,000 square feet of restaurant, retail and a potential boutique-medical hotel for a fully integrated “health park”.

All of this is aimed at helping Grand Blanc become a “destination”, which is in line with what both city and township officials are in the process of promoting via zoning and other aspects of economic development as well. On the subject of Meijer, Evans specified he cannot speak on their behalf but based on talks with them, they are still very interested in placing a store on their property at the southeast corner of Holly and Baldwin Road.

What it might take for that to happen, Evans explained, is for some of the other development he discussed to take place first — which means it might be another three years' before we see any real potential for the store.

In other news, Parks and Recreation Director Kae Eidson reminded residents that 2018 Dog Park passes are now on sale and 2017 passes expire January 5th. The dog park was recently updated with a water line for members’ convenience and the parks department is in the process of installing a new camera system to improve security—both improvement paid for by the recent taxpayer funded millage.

Other improvements have occurred and will be ongoing and more information on parks programming will be available in the Winter and Spring program guide to be published in the Grand Blanc View December 14th.

Superintendent of Schools Clarence Garner announced their Early College program with the University of Michigan—Flint will this year graduate their first class of students with five years' of high school including 48 college credits.

Township Supervisor Scott Bennett applauded the school district for their work in managing their affairs to create a highly desirable source of new residents in the area. He also announced they had just approved the hiring of a new planning consultant, which has been an unfilled position for several years since the former economic depression.

A roundabout for the intersection of Hill and Belsay roads has also been approved which is a million-dollar project aimed at helping congestion at that intersection.

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