CADILLAC — Plans are coming together to transform the Mitchell-Bentley property on Wright Street from an asbestos-caked rubble heap into a bastion of forward-thinking development.
The Cadillac City Council has set a public hearing to gather feedback on a proposal to ask the Department of Environmental Quality for a $700,000 grant and $300,000 loan to pay for site cleanup.
Cadillac City Manager Marcus Peccia said the proportion of grant-to-loan amount in the $1 million total keeps changing, but it seems to be going "in the right direction," as the previous estimate put the grant at $650,000 and loan at $350,000.
Efforts to clean up the property have been ongoing since the Mitchell Corp. building burned to the ground in 2013, and in last few years, significant progress has been made, including the lifting of a DEQ lien on the property and evaluation of site contamination.
Late last year, Peccia announced the city was in talks with Wolverine Power and its subsidiary, Spartan Renewable Energy, to build a solar farm at the site once it is cleaned up.
Peccia gave credit to Wolverine and Spartan for all the work they put into developing a plan for the site, which laid the groundwork for Consumers Energy to take the lead on the development.
Peccia said Consumers Energy plans to bid the project out, which means Wolverine Power might still be involved in running the eventual facility, but at this point, they are no longer part of the development.
To pay off the cost of the $300,000 loan, the city plans to collect tax dollars using a brownfield plan.
A brownfield uses tax dollars collected from redeveloped properties to pay for the cost of cleaning up those properties.
Mac McClelland, manager of brownfield redevelopment at Otwell Mawby, P.C., said he's confident there will be enough revenue collected from the new brownfield to pay off the $300,000 loan.
The brownfield would be established to cover the area of the Mitchell-Bentley property and extend to the old Western Concrete and current Crandall Precision.
The public hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 18 at 6 p.m., during council's regularly scheduled meeting.