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Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Fred Upton R-St Joseph

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today urged the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to approve the forthcoming grant application from Midwest Energy and Communication Cooperative (MEC) to develop the Southwest Michigan Advanced Research and Technology (SMART) Park in Cassopolis. If approved, this project will create more than 1,000 jobs and bolster the local economy in southwest Michigan.

“It’s no secret that the ongoing pandemic has reduced economic growth and hurt American workers. The EDA has an opportunity to grow Southwest Michigan, increase development, and create good-paying jobs leading to more prosperity for the entire region,” Upton wrote in a letter to the EDA on Tuesday.

MEC’s SMART Park will be a 450-acre state-of-the-art rail and fiber served business venture that will accommodate commercial and industrial projects with a number of energy options and amenities that address the needs of future tenants and community residents.

In addition to Upton, both the Village of Cassopolis and the County of Cass have expressed support for the construction of the business park. This project will also lead to an increase in the tax base for the village and the county.

The letter can be viewed here or below:

Dear Mr. Gartzke:

I am writing in favor of a forthcoming grant application from the Midwest Energy and Communication Cooperative’s (MEC) grant request to the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to develop the Southwest Michigan Advanced Research and Technology (SMART) Park. The MEC will be applying for the EDA Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Program as well as the EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance Program. If approved, these vital funds will allow MEC to leverage other capital necessary to complete this project which will create more than 1,000 jobs and bolster the local economy.

It’s no secret that the ongoing pandemic has reduced economic growth and hurt American workers. The EDA has an opportunity to grow Southwest Michigan, increase development, and create good-paying jobs leading to more prosperity for the entire region.

Several years ago, the leadership at MEC completed an in-depth market study and engineering analysis that lead to purchase nearly 500 acres of land which is now home to their new operations headquarters. During this analysis, the board and its leadership saw the benefit of developing the remaining parcel of land to create a business park that would spur the economic growth in Cassopolis, Cass County, and the entire southwest Michigan region.

Additionally, both the Village of Cassopolis and the County of Cass have expressed support for the construction of the business park. This project will also lead to an increase in the tax base for the village and the county.

Approval of this grant is key given MEC’s status as a utility and regulatory restrictions limit their access to capital. As noted above, these resources will provide the leverage necessary to obtain additional investments to complete the SMART Park.

I look forward to your support and would be happy to further discuss the project and grant request.

Sincerely,

MIL OSI USA News