By David Fleet
Groveland Twp. — A new era of development kicked off on Tuesday as township officials, along with Michigan State Police and other area leaders gathered for a groundbreaking of a new facility.
Construction will begin this month of a new Groveland Township Fire Station One/Michigan State Police detachment, the core of the communities municipal services on the site of a former gravel pit on township property in the 7000 block of Grange Hall Road just east of I-75.
Plans for the 14,400 square feet single story building with 7,610 square feet for the fire department and 6,720 feet for the Michigan State Police have been ongoing for the past few years. The MSP section will include holding cells, an armory, and a shared training\conference. The fire department will include a garage for eight vehicles including ladder truck and EMS units, along with office space. A copy of the plans are available at the township hall.
Three bids were submitted for the new facility of which local businessman Barry Bass was awarded the contract last year. At a cost of $2.9 million, the new township Fire Station One and MSP detachment was approved following consultation with MSP leadership in Lansing.
In December the township board of trustees voted 5-0 to approve the sale of the old Fire Station One/MSP facility, 14645 Dixie Highway. The old facility will remain active until the new building is completed next year.
The sale price was $1.5 million submitted by Bass, who said he has no immediate plans for the property, however, the traffic flow along with the adjacent HollyOaks ORV Park will be utilized in the business. Plans to replace the aging 70 year old structure have been ongoing for the past few years. The building was the township’s first fire station and was owned by Oakland County during the 1970s.
The proceeds of the sale along with some of the American Recovery Act funds and township infrastructure money will be used to cover the balance for the new building. There will be no debt on the new building.
The site of the new building is etched in Groveland Township history.
In the 1950s, the area near I-75 and Grange Hall Road in the township was part of the Jennings Brothers Farm. When the construction of I-75 started in 1957, the property was used as a source of gravel.
“A lot of the material under the I-75 viaducts and ramps was mined out of this area,” said Robert DePalma, township supervisor. “It’s all mined out of the property now and will soon have a new purpose.”
In December 1980, Stablex Corporation, an England based corporation, drew the ire of township residents when they proposed a waste disposal plant in the township at a meeting at the Holly Hotel. The target area for the chemical plant dedicated to neutralizing toxic industrial waste into inert matter was the junction of Grange Hall Road and I-75.
“We fought Stablex for about seven years in court,” he said. “We persevered and Stablex left for Texas.”
The project cost the township about $400,000 in legal fees, however, ultimately the township obtained the 200 acres after the departing company failed to pay property taxes on the property.
“This is a living testimony to the power of vision,” said Neil Sheridan, Michigan Township Association, executive director who attended the groundbreaking. “The vision goes back decades, of how do we preserve this remarkable community, located right on an important interstate? To put a toxic waste dump right here, would have had long term ramifications for this community and our neighbor communities. We now have an opportunity for economic development and jobs for the area.”
The Michigan Mutual Aid Box Alarm System, or MABAS, which opened in September 2017, a storage warehouse is also located on the same section of township property. The structure provides a location for workers, logistics, support vehicles, boats for surface water rescue, medical supplies, generators, ATVs, and vans to move the team of about 150 statewide when needed.
Oakland County recently approved a zoning map and overlay district for the entire development property area.
“The map is needed to get some of the economic development grants,” said DePalma. “A site condominium development for the area. An active marking plan is forthcoming, we envision this to be an industrial tech park with commercial frontage on Grange Hall Road.”
By David Fleet