FLINT TWP. — A major facelift for a local dealership and an extended-stay facility for a multi-million-dollar cancer treatment center are among new economic development projects slated for the township.
“Even though the economy has been lagging for the past few years, the Charter Township of Flint has been able to attract new business,’’ said Tracey Tucker, economic enhancement director, in her presentation last week at the annual meeting of the township’s Economic Development Corporation.
Tucker provided a list of 60 businesses she has worked with since the EDC board last met in May 2010.
Among them she said are plans for upgrades at the Patsy Lou dealership at Corunna and Linden Road and a proposed extended-stay facility for McLaren Regional Medical Center’s Proton Therapy Center for cancer treatment now under construction on Beecher Road.
New ownership of the former Celebrations nightclub on Beecher Road and also Cooper’s, at Bristol and Van Slyke, promise additional banquet/conference rental space in the township.
The Vehicle City Harley-Davidson showroom on Austin Parkway hopes to occupy instead of rent the former Chi-Chi’s restaurant site next door, she said. Business has been good for the motorcycle store since it opened two years ago so they are looking at expanding within the next two years, Tucker said.
Owners of the Speedway gas station at the Miller and I-75 may soon resurrect plans to tear down the existing structure and rebuild further back on the lot to accommodate more gas pumps. Tucker said the approved Speedway plans were put on hold due to the economy.
EDC board members questioned Tucker about several items on the list including the new Swedish Biogas plant at the Flint Wastewater Treatment Plant which is progressing according to plan but has had some communication issues.
“We have to be very mindful of what they are doing,’’ she said. “They are not good about coming to the township (instead of the City of Flint). We’ve had many trials trying to get them to understand that without proper permits we won’t let them open. It will be our fire department and police department who go over there and our residents who would get hurt if something goes wrong.’’
Also new are a Veteran’s Affairs Outpatient Clinic on Beecher Road, a Wells Fargo on Linden Road, a Best Buy Mobile and Cinnabon at Genesee Valley mall and a land purchase by the Bay Mills Indian group expected to open a casino if and when legal issues clear.
Vacant buildings were taken over by TDM International, a multimillion-dollar corporation specializing in automotive components, and a Recycling Station, both on Dye Road; DM Burr Security Services on Holiday Drive and Shaltz Fluid Power on Commerce Road.
Forman Mills, a discount department store, moved into the former Burlington
Coat Factory store; Lapeer Furniture and Mattress moved to the old Peerless Furniture; and a Goodwill store now occupies the former Michael’s craft store, all on Miller Road.
Casa Real restaurant (formerly Rib City Grill) and Kabob City (formerly Moy Kong) both located on Miller Road. A Verizon Wireless store now occupies the former Krispy Creme and Rally’s took over the former Starbucks, both on Corunna Road. Harris Brothers Auction House moved from Mundy Township to Van Slyke Road.
“We have also seen some of our current companies expand or reinvest in their current structures in the last year,’ Tucker said.
Renovators included the Kohl’s and TJ Maxx stores; Blue Cross/Blue Shield,; a medical office and the Sagano Bistro, all on Linden Road; JC Penney at Genesee Valley Mall; Sam’s Club on Corunna Road, Art Van furniture at Miller at Linden, North Baptist Church on Lennon Road; Bank of America on Ballenger Highway; Qdoba restaurant on Austin Parkway; and the Men’s Warehouse store and Verizon Wireless, both on Miller Road.
In other business, the EDC board elected officers and set its annual meeting date for next year.
Board member Jim Rouse shared information about the success of Purpose Built Communities in East Lake, Georgia which devised an economic development plan that raised its employment rate from 14 percent to 85 percent, he said. Rouse learned about it from the Rev. Reggie Flynn of Flint who is working on a similar plan in north Flint.
“It’s something that I think we ought to take a look at to see if we can spur some economy in our township,’’ said Rouse, who was asked to invite Flynn to an upcoming EDC special meeting to discuss it.
Township Supervisor Karyn Miller shared information about a group scouting property in three places including Flint Township to build a manufacturing plant. They also need to raise $2 million dollars to invest in the project. Miller said she’d like to see the township land the project. The EDC discussed ways to help the group acquire financing.
In the EDC election of officers, Grace Glass was re-elected chairperson, Rouse is vice chairperson, Ed Burns, treasurer and Kim Courts, secretary. The board set the date for its next annual meeting at 4:30 p.m May 23, 2012.