SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) — There’s some big talk for a small town. Community rumblings have circulated about a large-scale facility with the potential for thousands of jobs to make its way to Shiawassee County.
In the City of Durand and Vernon Township, people hoped to put a stop to what they believe are plans for an EV battery plant.
“A project this big would affect our entire community,” Shelly Ochodnicky said who opposes the project. “We’re kind of waiting to hear where Vernon Township stands on the project also.”
While she said she’s not opposed to growth, she still wants to protect the close-knit community.
“I think that most of the community is really saying no to this,” Ochodnicky said.
On July 14, 2023, Vernon Township officials were informed by the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership that businesses had shown interest in potentially building on 300 acres of land formerly known as “Project Tim.” The plans included bringing around 3,200 jobs to the area.
The location lies north of Lansing Road, south of Goodall Road, east of Durand Road, and west of Brown Road.
The SEDP added that one of the businesses was interested in seeing the area and speaking with public officials from the Township and the city of Durand.
Three days after, on July 17, representatives from the Township met with the business, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the SEDP, and the city of Durand. Township officials said it lasted around an hour and provided no new information to the Township.
Since the meeting, no Township official has met with any business or been provided with information regarding a project for the site.
People across the area wanted to learn more and attended the Township meeting on Monday night where 12 people spoke out against the potential project.
“I think that the concern for most of our community, is changing our rural farm community into a large mega site of an industrial park, I mean bringing that in and what that could look like for our community,” Ochodnicky said.
The Township added that there have not been any developments since and that there is no project currently slated for this area.
Officials with the MEDC confirmed the comment through a statement:
“The MEDC will continue to partner with any regional and local officials and community members who are at the table to create good-paying jobs and continue to identify and prepare strategic sites for continued investment here in the state,” Media and Communications Manager for MEDC Otie McKinley said. “While a number of projects in our pipeline in recent years have considered the site in Vernon Township and the city of Durand, we can confirm that there are no projects, including any EV/battery projects, that are considering that site for development at this time.”
Meanwhile, people who live around the area said they’ll be keeping watch.
“The primary concern is transparency and trying to better understand kind of what this project could mean to the community,” Ochodnicky said.