‘Keep Eagle agricultural’ - Eagle Township manufacturing plan sparks controversy

While both sides recognize the importance of manufacturing and job creation in Michigan, they remain divided on whether this particular project is the right fit for Eagle Township.
“None of us are against manufacturing, none of us are against development, but this isn’t the right place to do it.”
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 10:19 PM EST
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EAGLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) - Residents of Eagle Township are up in arms over plans to build a mega manufacturing site in their community.

The buyer for the site originally pulled out, but now Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), plans to move forward with the development of the “Michigan Manufacturing Innovation Campus.”

However, residents want their concerns heard before plans are finalized. They’re concerned about the loss of farmland as LEAP, MEDC and MSU pursue the development.

“Keep Clinton County agricultural,” said Matt Bedard. “This farmland produces crops that feed us, that feed our state.”

LEAP COO Keith Lambert disagrees.

“I understand from the local perspective it feels like a lot of farmland, but in the concept or framework of the county or the state, it’s not that much farmland,” Lambert said.

Residents are also concerned about their health and the potential water contamination that could come with living near a manufacturing plant.

“Plants require a lot of water to operate. That’s going to damage the wells that everyone relies on out here for our water,” Bedard said. “That’s going to potentially contaminate those wells.”

Lambert sought to reassure residents and said water contamination is a thing of the past.

“There’s a lot of regulations in place at the state and federal level now that these companies and whoever uses the property would absolutely follow to a tee,” Lambert said.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer supports the project and said it will bring more jobs to the state, but residents don’t want to see it in their backyards.

“None of us are against manufacturing, none of us are against development,” Bedard said. “But this isn’t the right place to do it.”

Lambert said not using the land for something other than agriculture could create more problems for Michigan in the future.

“We understand it’s not the land use that some of the neighbors would prefer, but it’s really important to recognize that if we don’t do this in the Lansing region, we’re going to continue to see population loss,” Lambert said.

Residents remain skeptical, and many are expected to attend an open house Thursday at Eagle Township Park to discuss their concerns with developers.

A petition created in support of the Michigan Manufacturing Innovation Campus can be signed here.

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