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Western Michigan prepares to sell sites at business park expansion

Western Michigan University now has the green light to begin selling business parcels in the second phase of the Business, Technology and Research Park.

While the preparation of the site itself is ongoing, the university’s Board of Trustees formally established the park’s second phase at its meeting Wednesday, June 26, and granted university officials permission to move forward on selling individual parcels.

The first phase of the park, completed in 2002, is at capacity and currently houses 40 different businesses, the university said. The park’s first phase is located on WMU’s Parkview Campus near the intersection of Parkview Avenue and South Drake Road.

Planning began in 2015 for the park’s second phase, located just north of the current Parkview Campus on a 55-acre parcel between Drake Road and U.S. 131. In 2016, the university received a $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

On Wednesday, the board approved the creation of a nonprofit corporation, a condominium association, which will allow the site to be divided up into individual parcels for businesses.

Vice President for Business and Finance Jan Van Der Kley said the board’s approval was a necessary step in the park’s development.

To formally establish the park as a site condominium under the Michigan Condominium Act, the board was asked to approve a master deed and bylaws, the process for selecting directors of the association and to grant easements for water, sanitary, utilities and related purposes, according to the board motion. The board granted President Edward Montgomery the authority to appoint the condominium association’s directors.

Development of the site and tree removal began in April. Van Der Kley said current construction involves building the walkways, roads and green spaces that will surround the individual parcels.

The construction site is on the northwest corner of Parkview and Drake Road, at the former site of Colony Farm Orchard, which was deeded to WMU by a state land grant in 1977 and restricted for public park and recreation uses. In 2009, the state passed a bill lifting the deed restriction, allowing WMU to use the Orchard property for other purposes. Construction of Business Technology Research Park 2 (BTR2) recently began on the site, located in Oshtemo Township, across the road from Asylum Lake.

The university announced plans in October 2017 that would reduce environmental impact, including designated green space and a buffer zone between a portion of Asylum Lake Preserve and the development.

The site construction came under recent criticism when heavy rainfall caused a discharge of sediment into Asylum Lake. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) staff were dispatched Thursday, June 20, after the rainfall event and confirmed the discharge of sediment-containing water to the lake and also noted the presence of sediment on Drake Road, EGLE Spokesman Scott Dean said.

Board Chair James Bolger said during the meeting Wednesday that the board and university administration were “very concerned” about the runoff from the construction site and that measures would be taken to prevent a similar incident in the future.

“(Asylum Lake) is an extremely important treasure for our university,” Bolger said.


Posted By: mlive on June 26, 2019.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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