Sustainable Business Park promises investment return

Consultant Rick Chapla shows Township Board members a prototype of the roofing product that will be made by the anchor tenant at the Sustainable Business Park.

Dorr Township is being asked for a $200,000 contribution to the Sustainable Business Park project, but Kent County Department of Public Works Darwin Baas insists the investment will reap even greater rewards.

Baas Thursday evening produced a document from Township Assessor Mike Richmond, who estimated the taxable value as a result of the project will increase by $233,515. Add to that $559,337 for Allegan County, a little more than a million dollars for Wayland Union Schools and $299,079 for the State of Michigan.

Baas and consultant Rich Chapla paid another cordial visit to the Dorr Township for a special workshop to continue to explain the Sustainable Business Park project that intends to take 90% of the area’s waste and convert it into recyclable materials.

The current Kent County landfill in Byron Township is only a few years away from filling up and needing to be closed. Kent County already has purchased a 250-acre parcel in northern Dorr Township for the next site for disposing, only this time it boldly has plans to turn recycling and waste materials into a viable product, thereby saving the landfill from the continued overload of refuse.

The project has lured Continuous Materials Anergia, a Toronto-based firm, to be anchor tenant at the site where it will manufacture a roof coverboard that already has been shown to outperform traditional gypsum-based roofing.

Baas said plans call for 65 employees at the plant, which will take up 477,000 square feet at the site on 20 acres. Plans also call for the Byron-Wyoming Water and Sewer Authority to provide water and sewer to the property so there won’t be any added strain on the Dorr-Leighton sewer system.

“There’s a lot of energy behind this project,” Baas told Township Board members, adding, “Seventy-five percent of what should be recycled today is still going to the landfill.”

The two guests said local residents still will be encouraged to continue with curbside recyclying, but the cost likely will increase by $3.10 per month per household.

Township Clerk Debbie Sewers said that may be troublesome because Dorr voters most recently approved a $36 per year surcharge by just 15 votes and soon they will be asked to approve a fee increase to $50 annually.

Trustees John Tuinstra and Chandler Stanton also expressed some misgivings, but Supervisor Jeff Miling said, “For me, this is a no-brainer to invest. I’d really like to see this happen. It’s going to help our community.”

Baas and Chapla said the biggest assets from the program are economic development, saving the environment, promoting recycling and reducing the need for space for dumping waste.

The Township Board intends to seek public input and may even consider using some of the American Rescue Plan Act federal funding for the project.


  • Projected earnings sure look wonderful for an investment of only $200,000 dollars. How much of what Dorr township recycles will be used to make this product? What will be the magical formula for hiring these 65 employees. Has anyone noticed it seems employees are hard to cone by. If this wonderful venture is going to save the planet why will our recycling cost rise?
    Something just doesn’t add up in this “old geezers mind” . How many find it interesting this experiment is happening in Allegan County not Kent County? How much money is Kent County putting forth?
    Will we find out at the public meeting or will the train have left the station long before the passengers arrive. It wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened in Dorr township.

  • My opinion.

    Sadly, It appears our Community lost the chess match before it even began.

    Interesting how Kent County purchased land in Allegan County years ago to build this. They did not purchase the land in Gaines Township or other rural areas in Kent County, for obvious reasons. How much odor will there be from the incinerators. Take a drive down US 131 by 100th St, the smell is overwhelming from the incinerator byproducts.

    Investments are or should be a educated risk, hoping to gain a profit. I highly doubt any significant property tax revenue will be brought back to Allegan County and or Dorr Township for many decades. We may see the many Michigan property tax loop holes for Corperations.

    This appears to be the bully monkeying with the little guy.

  • They assure the development will be serviced from Byron Center/Wyoming sources for sewer and water. Where are those officials in assuring that will be fact? I see nothing in this article establishing fact from fiction regarding this important part of this development. Are the majority of Dorr taxpayers wanting this development?

  • DTOM
    The majority of taxpayers in the township never knew #1 that land was fir sale #2 who the buyers were #3 what could be allowed on that parcel. #4 There was an article about the possibility of this project a few years back. ( not sure of the exact year. I couldn’t get any support to voice opposition to it ) #5 at this point there is no way to prevent this project except if the taxpayers can prevent the giving of $200,000 to it. The project will still be there, but our tax dollars ( and the relief money from the government ) . Could be used for local improvements, the parks, maintenance of the sidewalks, save it for something other than an experimental project. Headed by a foriegn country ( Canada) . Who at the present time has shown their recycling skills and ideas have not done well at all ( at last research they bury more plastic than they recycled)
    From our Supervisors view we are “Country Bumkins” , if we fail to support this “no brainer “.
    Just wondering if he would invest his own $200,000 in this project? My guess is No Way.

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