Site approved for Consumers service center
By Tim Barnum
News Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
OGEMAW TWP. — A parcel of land near I-75 Exit 215 will soon be home to a new Consumers Energy service center. The Ogemaw County Planning Commission rezoned the property for the center Oct. 24.
The property was re-zoned from B-3 Business to M-1 Industrial according to Ogemaw Township Supervisor Denis Stephens.
Stephens said the site is actually across the road from the original site Consumers was interested in.
“Consumers has moved across the road to west of the freeway,” he said.
Stephens said the former property for the center was behind Turner’s on the east side of the freeway.
The former site had signs of contamination in the soil, Stephens said. So far, tests on the new site appear positive.
“They’ve done some preliminary soil sampling there already, and everything’s come back good,” he said.
The property includes two lots sitting on 51.8 acres, Stephens said.
Jay Jacobs, area manager and public affairs director for Consumers in Northeast Michigan, said the site’s proximity to I-75 will allow Consumers to cut down response times. The new center would be considered a “super center,” Jacobs said.
“West Branch would be considered a super center, because it would serve other centers,” he said.
The site will include areas for engineering staff, offices for administrators, a repair area for equipment, warehouse storage space and bunks for extra poles, Jacobs said.
“It would be spread out over the acreage of the whole property, so it wouldn’t be jammed up,” he said.
According to Jacobs, there has been no final decision on whether Consumers will close its center in Rose City, as it recently closed centers in Standish and Gladwin. Although those two centers have closed, Jacobs said the new center, even if more were closed, would not mean jobs would be lost, just shifted to the West Branch center.
“If anything, the net will be we’ll probably put more line workers on, which is a good thing,” he said.
Stephens said a Consumers representative told the planning commission construction on the site would begin next year.
“The representative from Consumers said that they plan on starting construction in the spring,” he said.
Stephens said he and his peers on the board are pleased with Consumers’ decision to develop the site in Ogemaw Township.
“The township board is all in favor of the project,” he said. “It’s good because these properties have been for sale. So the property owners are happy to sell these properties for sure.”