MCBAIN — Nearly three decades ago, the city of McBain bought 80 acres of woods just north of city limits and annexed the land into the city.
The trees didn’t have much to do except grow.
Now, it’s time to use the land.
All of the wood is going to come down.
The city signed a contract with Roger Bazuin and Sons on Oct. 21 to log the poplar and soft maple.
Part of it is the poplar’s age. It’s at its peak.
“It’s either time to log it or it’s going to start falling down,‘ explained McBain Mayor Joey Roberts.
But the other part of it is jobs and industry.
Roberts isn’t certain of the property’s history but he has a pretty good guess why the city bought the land.
“I would assume, since it backs up to the industrial park, that was the reason they bought it,‘ Roberts said.
The 80-acres of poplar and soft maple is on the section of Geers Road, west of M-66 and just north of McBain’s industrial park, that is considered a seasonal road.
Once cleared, the property could connect to the industrial park and become developed.
“Our goal is to work with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and get that ready for development and for industry,‘ Roberts said. “The city’s ultimate goal is to have that developed.‘
But first the trees will have to come down.
McBain worked with Biewer Sawmill’s forestry employees to walk the property with Roberts and come up with a plan to log it.
When the project went out for bid, Roger Bazuin and Sons won the contract, paying approximately $84,000 to the city to log and use the wood, which will likely be used for pallets and particle board, according to Bob Bazuin, vice president of the company.
The property is undeveloped and unused by city residents other than a few bow hunters who use the forest acreage, Roberts said.
“It’s just kind of been sitting there,‘ said Roberts, who envisions the property, once cleared, as fitting in with the industrial park, possibly in a business related to the logging industry.
Roger Bazuin and Sons were given a one-year timeframe to complete the job.
Bazuin estimated it would take his employees a month and a half to log the site.
But they haven’t started yet and won’t until the ground freezes hard enough.
There are damp, low-lying areas in the 80-acre wood where equipment could get stuck.
And the company is under orders not to tear up the land.
“That’s one of the requirements of the sale—not to tear it up,‘ Bazuin said.
In the meantime, there are a number of steps the city needs to take, starting with contacting the MEDC about getting community redevelopment assistance in preparing and marketing the site, Roberts said.
McBain has spent some of Roberts’s tenure as mayor (he was re-elected this year) completing one of the requirements that have to be met before the MEDC will help communities with a project like this: McBain completed its updated master plan earlier this year.