SHIAWASSEE COUNTY (WJRT) (11/07/19) - Shiawassee County Commissioners approved a new grant tonight to help develop a land site in Durand.
People there have come to know the area as the 'Project Tim' site, where an Ohio-based steel company could build a multi-million dollar plant.
There is still a lot of mystery about 'Project Tim,' and many people hoped an approved grant would lead to answers about the large-scale industrial development.
Instead, this grant is about preparing the site itself for future business development that 'Project Tim' and others may benefit from.
The grant, $100,000 one, will help prepare a land site along I-69, north of Lansing Road for business development. That will include planning, engineering and infrastructure issues to make sure the property will support business development for many years to come.
"While this site could potentially be the future home 'Project Tim,' it is not specifically for that project. It is for other potential business that can locate there for the community and for really anyone interested in seeing good development in the area, so it's a project that will help a lot of different people," Justin Horvath said. Horvath is the President and CEO of Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership.
The development of 'Project Tim' has brought a lot of questions to the community for the last couple years, and talk about it comes in spurts.
"You hear 'Project Tim,' 'Project Tim,' and everybody is talking about it then you don't hear nothing about it. Then, they're talking about it. Now, it's always, 'Well, it's a go. It's a go. They're just waiting for funding,' and that's all you ever hear, so I don't really know what's going on," Durand resident, Teresa Wilcox said.
Horvath says 'Project Tim' is still very much alive.
"They are moving forward with everything they need to do to get the project off the ground. Other than that, we remain in a holding pattern locally, waiting for them to tell us when they're ready to go," Horvath said.
Horvath says he understands the residents are concerned because the main company, New Steel International Inc., cannot share certain aspects of the business, but there will be community involvement when the time is right.
"They're operating a very, very competitive global environment, and because of that, they're reticent to share too much information. It is important to note that when they are ready to move forward, there will be community forums. There will be local government meetings. There will need to be approvals of different items," Horvath said.
The timeline is still up in the air, but Horvath says this grant will produce good planning by supporting businesses while also protecting residents' concerns.