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Sustainable Business Park

Diverting waste from landfill – creating jobs, driving a regional circular economy, and protecting our land, air, and water

 

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Support the Sustainable Business Park

Is reducing waste and maximizing material recovery important to you or your company? Add your name to the Sustainable Business Park supporters by filling out the contact form at the bottom of the page!

“West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is excited to support Kent County Department of Public Works in its efforts to reduce landfill volumes by 90 percent over the next decade and its plan to develop a Sustainable Business Park to help achieve its goal.”

“Steelcase believes the sustainable business park proposed by Kent County is a better use of allocated land resources than a landfill. The proposed park would provide Steelcase, and other companies, local recycling options to divert more waste materials from landfill.”

On Time Dumpsters

“I own and operate a local dumpster rental company On Time Dumpsters. Reducing waste and maximizing material recovery and recycling is important to my company.” 

“We are working to make Rockford a more sustainable community and recycling is a big part of that. By having new markets for recyclable materials, we will all benefit. We support the SBP!”

“We divert post-industrial textile waste from our landfills and upcycle it into products that support jobs in our community. Our work is based in sustainability, the circular economy and caring for the people, planet and creating possibility out of re-purposed fabric.”

“West Michigan is already a national leader in triple bottom line sustainability practices. The Sustainable Business Park will be the next important step in moving toward a circular economic model for the future. My industrial design studio has had sustainable design practice as a core value for 42 years. Eliminating the idea of waste is the ultimate goal. I want to design some innovative, high quality products with the valuable materials collected and processed at the Kent County Sustainable Business park!”

 

Michigan Economic Development Corporation

“The sustainability park in Dorr Township exemplifies the type of project the Build Ready program is intended for – a collaborative, thoughtful plan that identifies a pathway to the redevelopment of a site, making it ready to compete for site selection projects and generate long-term prosperity for the community.”

“Worthen Industries, Inc has made sustainability a major part of our business management practices and we consider it key to our long term growth. As an energy and materials intensive manufacturing business with operations in Grand Rapids, we support Kent County’s efforts to develop the SBP.”

If you’d like to discuss how this initiative can benefit your organization or to schedule a meeting with your team, contact Dar Baas at darwin.baas@kentcountymi.gov 

Project Overview

a The Kent County Department of Public Works has set a bold goal to divert 90% of Kent County-generated trash that goes to landfills by 2030. Building a Sustainable Business Park is an essential part of reaching that goal. The last operating landfill in Kent County will reach capacity and close in 2029. Instead of using 250 acres for future landfill, we have a vision to develop a Sustainable Business Park that

  • lays the critical infrastructure to support a regional circular economy
  • leverage private sector development
  • attract businesses to localize the entire recycling or conversion process
  • preserve open space
  • expand research
  • generate and use renewable energy
  • begin to close the loop in West Michigan

The concept of the Sustainable Business Park is that it will attract companies that specialize in reclaiming or converting waste materials that might otherwise be dumped into the landfill into usable materials, such as fuel pellets, plastic flake, compost and more. There are opportunities for complementary businesses, startups and entrepreneurs to tap into these reclaimed or converted materials and transform them into new products, including clothing, automotive components or animal feed.

The park has tremendous potential for preserving open space, creating jobs, sparking innovation and new research, generating renewable energy and moving us closer to our goal of reducing landfill waste, which will help conserve natural resources and protect the quality of our water.

Planning Process

We’ve brouht together national and local experts to create a plan to make West Michigan a leader in waste recovery.

Kent County DPW engaged local stakeholders, gathered data, conducted site tours, and prioritizing project goals to determine the feasibility of a Sustainable Business Park on 250 acres of land adjacent to the landfill. The Project Master Plan was approved in 2018 and allowed DPW staff to refine what we learned about the necessary improvements, costs, funding sources and a work toward an implementation schedule.

As part of the plan, the DPW is actively working with the business community to attract potential tenants and complementary technologies to minimize the gap between planning and implementation. The first tenant has been recommended and, if approved, would provide secondary and tertiary tenants with feedstock to build circularity within the Park and within West Michigan.

If you are interested in being a tenant of the Sustainable Business Park, please let us know by filling out the contact form below.

Project Master Plan

The FINAL Sustainable Business Park Master Plan was presented to the Kent County Board of Public Works on October 4, 2018 during a regularly scheduled board meeting. The BPW approved the Sustainable Business Park (SBP) Master Plan and authorized the Director to form a business development team to advance proposals for development of the SBP.

The DRAFT Sustainable Business Park Master Plan was presented to the Kent County Board of Public Works on August 2, 2018 during a regularly scheduled board meeting.

On November 27, 2018, Kent County presented an overview of the recommendations to a group of interested stakeholders as a conclusion to the master planning phase of the Sustainable Business Park project.

Community members representing a variety of perspectives worked closely with Kent County staff and contractors to provide feedback on the proposed technologies and processes included in the Project Master Plan.

Anchor Tenant Request for Proposals

On September 30, 2020, Kent County received nine (9) responses to a Request for Proposals for the ‘anchor tenant’ at the Sustainable Business Park. The anchor tenant would receive a large fraction of mixed waste currently being delivered to Kent County DPW facilities, process the waste to separate the components and begin to move the waste into markets for reuse or recycling. The request for proposals (RFP) for an anchor tenant was a key step in identifying a company with the proven technology to convert a significant portion of the 2.1 million cubic yards of waste landfilled by residents and businesses each year into raw material for new products and kicks off the economic development process to attract additional tenants. With potential tenants at the ready, investments in critical infrastructure are needed to secure this project as the success story for changing how we look at discards – from disposal to development.

Community members representing a variety of perspectives worked closely with Kent County staff and contractors to provide feedback on the proposed technologies and processes included in the Request for Proposals.

At their September 2, 2021 meeting, the Board of Public Works received the recommendation of Continuus Materials + Anaergia (CM+A) for anchor tenant of the Sustainable Business Park. At their October 7, 2021 meeting, the Board of Public Works voted to authorize the DPW director to negotiate terms of a Project Development Agreement (PDA) with CM+A. This PDA defines the respective roles and responsibilities under which Kent County DPW and CM+A would jointly continue to develop, design, permit, equip and maintain the proposed facility and related infrastructure – including schedule, development of the site plan, project capital costs and financing. It would also contain provisions for default, termination and termination payment should either party choose to terminate the PDA.

At their March 3, 2022 meeting, the Board of Public Works approved the PDA with CM+A, formally naming their joint venture ‘Kent County Bioenergy Facility LLC.’ Simultaneously, a Sustainable Business Park Stakeholder Advisory Group, made up of local municipal and industry leadership, was initiated to walk alongside the PDA process and provide input, feedback and recommendations on a countywide waste solution.

Infrastructure Improvements

Part of the innovative public-private partnerships taking shape at the Sustainable Business Park require infrastructure improvements to enable tenants to chart a timeline for their investment in West Michigan’s new approach to disposal. Initial support from Michigan Economic Development Corporation enabled Kent County to bring the 250-acre property closer to “shovel-ready” status by evaluating its unique assets, development potential, and proximity to existing utilities. Infrastructure investments still necessary to prepare the site for development include water, sewer, electric, gas, stormwater and roads. By leveraging external funding opportunities, the local dollars utilized will be exponentially and extensively invested for the benefit of West Michigan.

2017-2023 Planning Timeline

  1. September 2017 Master Plan Kickoff
  2. November 2017 Stakeholder Meetings
  3. March 2018 Release Request for Information (RFI)
  4. May through July 2018 RFI Review & Master Plan Development
  5. October 2018 Master Plan Approval Process
  6. November 2018 Stakeholder Meeting
  7. Winter 2018/19 Business Development Team Kickoff
  8. 2019 Evaluation of Potential Anchor Tenants
  9. June 2020 Release Request for Proposals (RFP) for  Anchor Tenant(s)
  10. September 2020 – Spring 2021 RFP Response Review & Evaluation
  11. October 2021 Recommendation for Anchor Tenant(s) Project Development Agreement (PDA) negotiations
  12. March 2022 BPW Approves Anchor Tenant PDA with Continuus Materials + Anaergia (Kent County Bioenergy Facility)
  13. March-December 2022 PDA Implementation & Stakeholder Engagement
  14. Q1/Q2 2023Finalize Financing and Service Agreement

News

2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

Newsletter
March 2022
December 2021
Sept./Oct. 2020
June/July 2020
January/February 2020
October/November 2019
August/September 2019
June/July 2019

Subscribe to the Sustainable Business Park Newsletter!

 

Interested in getting involved?

Planning Partners

Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc.
FISHBECK, THOMPSON, CARR & HUBER, INC.
Stern Brothers & Co.
Stern Brothers & Co.