SMART Park Construction is Coming Along Nicely
by Bob Hance on Friday, March 24, 2023
I can’t believe it’s been a year since Norsk Hydro broke ground on the first development in our Southwest Michigan Advanced Research & Technology (SMART) Park. Hydro’s $150 million aluminum recycling plant is expected to bring 70 new jobs and economic opportunities to Cass County. It’s exciting to watch the progress as the SMART Park transforms from a field of dreams into reality.
Hydro’s facility is taking shape, and we’ve started working on infrastructure. Construction has begun on the commercial entrance, which will connect to the park’s industrial road that will run between Follett and Decatur. Utilities are being laid, rail work will commence this summer, and all infrastructure will be in place for Hydro to open this fall.
While we move forward with bringing this much-needed economic boon to Cass, we aren’t doing it without consideration for the way of life here that so many treasure. We are taking steps to preserve that:
- The Michigan Department of Transportation will add turn and deceleration lanes on M-60 to mitigate traffic at the commercial entrance.
- We are requiring all businesses to be dark-sky compliant. This means that all outdoor lighting must only be on when needed, only light the area that needs it, be no brighter than necessary, minimize blue light emissions, and eliminate upward-directed light.
- Our thorough development covenants are in place to support our vision of creating vibrant, relevant, and sustainable rural communities.
The ultimate goal of the SMART Park is to create a space that Cass can be proud of, a place that offers stable employment opportunities and provides economic benefits for years to come. It’s what Ed Lowe wanted, and it’s what Cass needs.
I’ll continue to keep you updated on progress as new developments happen.