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West St. project to begin soon

West St. project to begin soon

Last week we told you utility and road work would begin on the south end of West St. around July 5, for the creation of a business park. We reached out to Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack for a little more information.

How long will construction take and how big will the area be?

“The West St. project itself has been in the works now for several years, delayed by COVID, but we anticipate breaking ground on or about July 5th and the project will likely go through late October,” he said. “This project opens up more than 40 acres of City-owned property to the development of a business park.”

How is the project being funded?

The city received a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and also has their own portion to pay, which they bonded for. They were, however, able to reduce their cost.

“When we started looking at the West St. development project, the City anticipated that it would cost the City approximately $700,000 in development costs (in addition to the expected $872,000 from the EDA),” explained Womack. “However, after all was said and done, we were able to decrease the City’s portion down to just under $450,000.  So, to pay for that portion of the City’s cost of development, we decided to bond for that amount and then pay back the bond as the land is sold off to businesses.  The City has been on a bit of a tear recently obtaining grant money, but each grant opportunity requires that the City put up a matching amount of money to complete each project.”

How is the City able to fund the other projects they have going on when they have this huge project in the works?

“Since the West St. project was expected to generate income based upon land sales after the project was completed, we decided to take the City’s existing money in the bank and put that existing funding towards other projects that are not expected to generate any income (such as the Heart of Cedar Springs playground, the 17 N. Main pocket park, the 2nd Street and 5th Street sidewalk projects and the Main St. bridge and reconstruction projects that are all in the works,” said Womack. 

“The obvious downside of doing this, is that we will end up paying interest on the bond loan but the upside is that it allows the City to use existing funding in the bank to apply for and hopefully get more grant funding in the meanwhile, in other words we aren’t tying up $450,000 of the City’s money into this project, which would have prevented us from pursuing grant money on those other projects.”

According to Womack, West St., north of the project area, should remain unaffected by construction, but the area will see increased construction traffic. The Skyhawks flying field is expected to remain open throughout most or all of the project.

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