New Business Looking to Locate in Leja Industrial Park

Jack Gesmundo and Ryan Leaser of American Village Builders on the left, discuss the plans for condo development in the Bridgeview area next to Angels Crossing golf course at a village council meeting. Also shown in the middle are James Earl, Tom Haroldson, and Colin Bailey.

By Sue Moore

Creative thinking just might get the Village of Vicksburg a new industry to locate in the Leja Industrial Park, if Ken Schippers, village manager, has anything to do with it.

He and Bill Adams, village president, have been courting Terry Mleczewski of MLC Research and Development, representing PulverDryer USA, to take up residency in the south side of the park, next to the railroad tracks and Summit Polymers.

To make this happen, Schippers turned to Summit Polymers management for a trade. They have been contemplating another expansion of 54,000 sq. feet and need dirt for fill. Management wanted to buy a section of the park next to their current operation just for the dirt to raise the land where they would build. Schippers proposed a trade to Summit and the village council at a special meeting called in August.

It goes like this. The village, which owns the 12.5 acres just east of Summit, would trade the fill dirt needed by Summit and they would move the dirt to their location just south of their current building. This would give MLC a buildable site. Then MLC would be offered the four acre parcel out of the twelve available to build their pulverizing plant. The cost of splitting the 12 acres into four parcels, the realtor’s fees, surveys, and environmental studies would be the price MLC would pay for four acres. The three remaining parcels would be taken off the market for 18 months. Once that holding period expires, MLC would be offered first right of refusal at $40,000 per parcel or $10,000/acre.

The PulverDryer system filters solids out of food. It is new technology to be used in the food industry. If all goes well, they plan to build this fall and have big dreams of expansion, Schippers told the council. They currently have an operation in Battle Creek that is like an incinerator for waste, the city intends to sell for fertilizer. The machine in Vicksburg would be for food incineration, the owner indicated.

American Village Builders (AVB)

Bids for road work in the new Bridgeview Condominium development were presented to the council at this same meeting by Jack Gesmundo and Ryan Leaser of AVB. The purchase of the condo property owned by Kalamazoo County State Bank, next to Angels Crossing golf course, was predicated upon the village building roads, installing lighting, water and sewer to the development.

The cost was not to exceed $600,000 which the village bonded for in July. The bids came in at $540,000 according to the presentation, with allowances in the bid for trees at $30,000, edging and seeding at $30,000, new exterior sheathing and roof for the pump house at $3,500 and signage at $20,000. Discussion took place on street lighting, manhole covers, sanitary sewer lines, and the trail system the village wants to develop, all of which the council approved.

Crawford Litigation

After a closed session to consider the recommendation of the Kalamazoo County Prosecuting Attorney, the council voted to demand full restitution from Matt Crawford, former village manager, for $13,450.98, stemming from criminal charges filed against Crawford. On a roll call vote, the ayes were Bailey, Earl, Smith, Adams, with Newman abstaining. Becker and Boyer were absent.

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