Services Maybe Right Here

August 7, 2006
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If the city were looking for nothing more than a 10- to 20-acre parcel of available land, there are literally hundreds of sites that could house the city services currently headquartered at

201 Market Ave. SW.

However, there are fewer than a dozen sites that will fit the unique characteristics city officials will likely seek in a new location, provided the city observes its four-year-old Master Plan. City officials have yet to contact any property owners concerning the possible relocation and have not indicated what they would seek in a property.

1. Market Avenue

The city's Wastewater Treatment Plant, Environmental Protection Services and an impound lot are housed at 1300, 1550 and 1600 Market Ave. SW. The Kent County Waste-To-Energy Facility is a block east. Neighbors include a junk yard, rail yard, steel distributor and asphalt company. Only a few minutes from the current location, this site has easy access to downtown and is a block away from the I-196 Market exit. There is some unused land already on the city property, and adjacent property is currently on the market.

This site presents an opportunity to consolidate some facilities.

2. Butterworth Dump

The area surrounding the 120-acre former Butterworth Dump is earmarked for use as park land in the city's Master Plan, and the adjacent land off

O'Brien Street SW
is slated for low density residential. The dump is in the midst of a prolonged EPA cleanup. However, current uses opposite the dump site include mining, a firing range, and the city's yard waste facility at
2001 Butterworth St.
SW. Practically all the land in this area is owned by either the city or by mining concern Meekhof Properties, much of it vacant.

Locating here would be a departure from the Master Plan, but could save the city from future relocation of the services housed here.

3. Oak Industrial

The Oak Industrial corridor is a central location with easy access to downtown and both highways. The city has some facilities in the area, housing its Water Department in a new facility at

1900 Oak Industrial Drive NE
in the Terra Firma Renaissance Zone. There is unused land on that site, but only a little more than an acre. Most of the vacant land in this area is located on the east side of the corridor near East Beltline

4. Cottage Grove

The tract of land on the city's southeast side that runs along

Cottage Grove Street SE
from Division to
Eastern avenue
is one of the city's oldest and most underutilized industrial zones. Surface lots occupy the majority of the developed space, either as part of an industrial facility or storage. The county leases two large pieces of land here as emergency storm water runoff basins.

The Madison Square Renaissance Zone runs through part of this neighborhood, including a 10-acre parcel of land currently listed for sale by Delta Properties. This could be a unique opportunity for the city to use the relocation for economic development.

5. Buchanan-Hall

Bounded by two railroads, the area surrounding

Buchanan Avenue
on either side of
Hall Street
is a sort of no-man's land of vehicle storage, small manufacturing and warehousing, forming a stark contrast to the Union Station development blocks away. Whatever its appearance, there are several strong businesses in this area. Potential neighbors would include Benteler Automotive and Pridgeon & Clay.

The area is a large part of the Division-Buchanan Renaissance Zone and has instant access to the highway.

6. Richmond/Alpine Junction

Junkyards and obsolete manufacturing facilities characterize the Renaissance Zone neighborhood north of the Alpine Avenue and

Richmond Street
junction. Nearly three miles from the city's center and inconvenient to a highway, this is a long shot.

7. Scribner Street

There is very little available land adjacent to the Kent County Department of Public Works site at

1500 Scribner St. NW
, but merging some services within the same facility could be a possibility, especially if the white-collar activities are consolidated elsewhere.

8. Ionia-Division

There are several currently available properties along

Ionia Avenue south
of
Wealthy Street
, including an undeveloped block at
57 Logan St. SE
. Most of the vacant land, however, is a block or two outside of the future industrial zone stipulated by the Master Plan. Locating here could stymie future development on
South Division Avenue
.     JX

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