Gov. Whitmer announces grant to boost high-tech Business Growth in Cass County

Published 4:44 pm Thursday, September 30, 2021

LANSING — Thursday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that the U.S. Secretary of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration is awarding a $6 million grant to Midwest Energy and Communications in Cassopolis to construct the needed road, sewer and water infrastructure to support the 234-acre Southwest Michigan Advanced Research and Technology Park (SMART Park).

This EDA grant, to be matched with $6 million in local funds, is expected to create 248 jobs and generate $14 million in private investment.

“We are grateful to our federal partners for investing in Michigan by supporting the Southwest Michigan Advanced Research and Technology Park,” Whitmer said. “This grant will help us continue to usher in a new era of prosperity by creating 248 jobs and generating $14 million in private investment, making a lasting positive impact on our communities.”

“President Biden is committed to supporting local efforts to create new jobs and opportunities in communities impacted by nuclear plant closures,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This investment leverages Cass County’s assets – high-skilled workforce, access to major rail and fiber broadband – to attract new businesses and build regional economic resiliency.”

“The Economic Development Administration is pleased to support Midwest Energy Cooperative’s efforts to build an industrial and tech park that will create much needed, good-paying jobs,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This investment will diversify the local economy by attracting high-tech companies involved in the critical solar, fiber optics, data-hosting, agriculture and food sectors as the region prepares for the closure of the Palisades Nuclear Plant.”

This project is being funded under EDA’s Assistance to Nuclear Closure Communities program. Closures of nuclear power plants throughout the United States have had a significant impact on the economic foundations of surrounding communities through sudden job losses and a reduction to the local tax base. EDA has a history of success working with communities facing structural economic adjustments to diversify and strengthen their economies for the future, including those impacted by nuclear power plant closures.