THE PROPOSED SITE of “Project Tim” is shown from the intersection of Lansing Road and N. Saginaw Street, just north of downtown Durand and west of the Durand Area Schools campus.

(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)

 

by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor

A standing-room-only crowd again filled the Durand City Council chambers beyond capacity for the Monday, July 17 meeting, as area residents packed in to hear the latest on the mysterious “Project Tim.” And while the council did address the project near the end of the meeting, the night’s agenda was chock full of notable items of business. The council acted on 22 agenda items, approving the city’s annual commitments to the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership (SEDP) and Shiawassee Area Transportation Agency (SATA), as well as a new Durand Police Department Operating Procedure.

City Manager Colleen O’Toole gave the “Project Tim” update by way of a PowerPoint presentation. A few figures related to the proposed project have changed since Vernon Township officials released an informational packet during a June meeting. The cost projection for the project changed from “$4.5 to $5 billion” to “$4 to $6 billion,” and the estimated amount of acres needed for construction was changed from approximately 800 acres to “800 to 1,000 acres.”

Additionally, O’Toole shared that the project is classified as “renewable energy,” and that the prospective facility would be owned by an American company. She also touted the “increased housing values, consumer spending, and tax revenues” that would accompany the facility, which she described as “unlike any other in the world,” and “producing best in class products.”

O’Toole noted that the developers “have expressed on numerous occasions a commitment to hiring veterans and working with local organizations to establish job training programs.” O’Toole explained that, since 2000, Shiawassee County has lost $17 million in annual manufacturing wages, the total population of the city of Durand has decreased by 10.49 percent since 2009, and that 20 percent of Durand residents are currently living in poverty. It is the hope of developers and advocates that the influx of jobs, tax revenue, and consumer spending related to the project could help reverse the aforementioned trends.

Several community members spoke during the “Public Comments” sections of the meeting, though the council kept the emotional topic of discussion from eroding the meeting’s decorum. Council members urged everyone in attendance to be patient and open minded, as the project is still only in the “final stages of financial due diligence,” according to O’Toole’s presentation.

Council member John Matejewski reassured residents by saying, “We all live here, and we would not poison our city.” Council member Jeff Brands also pointed out that the city’s downtown currently has 22 empty storefronts, with three more businesses scheduled to close in the coming months.

As for the city’s 2018 commitments to the SEDP and SATA, the council approved a quarterly pledge of $1,966.50 to the SEDP ($7,866 annually), which is the same amount it gave in 2017. The city has agreed to pledge no more than $12,028.42 to SATA, which is an increase of approximately $3,000 from 2017.

The Durand Police Department is now authorized to carry and administer Narcan, an opioid antagonist that is used to counter the effects of opioid overdose. The officers will be equipped with the training and tools to administer the drug, which is effective in treating overdoses induced by herion, fentanyl, morphine, buprenorphine, codeine, hydromorphone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, methadone, oxycodone, Vicodin, and oxycontin. Paramedics can already administer Narcan, but this procedural update will allow DPD officers to administer the drug right away instead of waiting for a paramedic to arrive on scene.

 

Durand City Council Discusses ‘Project Tim’ was last modified: July 24th, 2017 by Karen Elford