Road reconstruction grant supports jobs in county

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published February 11, 2015

 A $1.6 million state road grant will allow Yanfeng USA in Harrison Township to expand to Executive Drive, adding 519 jobs.

A $1.6 million state road grant will allow Yanfeng USA in Harrison Township to expand to Executive Drive, adding 519 jobs.

File photo by Julie Snyder

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HARRISON TOWNSHIP — State transportation officials last week announced a $1.6 million grant that will ultimately support job growth in Macomb County.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced it will award the Transportation Development Funds (TEDF) grant to support expansion at Yanfeng USA Automotive Trim Systems, which plans to renovate a previously vacant building on Executive Drive in Harrison Township. The expansion is expected to create 519 new jobs

Yanfeng specializes in the design and production of interior trim systems for the automotive industry. Growing ever since it established its first Harrison Township location in 2010, the company was considering an expansion to a location outside of the region.

Camille Silda, senior economic development specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development, offered assistance to company officials, and by working collaboratively with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, MDOT, the Macomb County Department of Roads and township officials, the company decided to expand locally.

As a result, Yanfeng will invest $56.6 million to renovate the building on Executive Drive; however, much work is needed to that 1-mile stretch of road.

“This expansion will be a significant investment to our headquarters here in Harrison Township,” said Yanfeng President David Wang. “This is going to dramatically improve the appearance and functionality of our operations. We would like to thank Macomb County and the state of Michigan for their advocacy on our behalf.”

Executive Drive is an industrial road that serves Yanfeng and other companies within an industrial park. The road, according to transportation officials, is in an extreme state of disrepair. It does not drain properly, which causes flooding during heavy rainfalls, plus icy conditions in the winter.

Bob Hoepfner, director of the Macomb County Department of Roads, said he’s waiting for more concrete details about the grant before plans can go forward, but added that the work on the Executive Drive, built more than 40 years ago, is greatly needed.

“We have every intention to repair the road,” he said. “I would hope to start in the summer, but I don’t know the particulars. I think it’s a great idea, and I’m sure in time it will happen.”

Per the grant that the county applied for, the Department of Roads would reconstruct Executive Drive between Henry B. Joy Boulevard and Irwin Drive, as well as widen the intersections at these roadways to allow for improved access for Yanfeng and other companies in the park. The total estimated cost for this project is just over $2.3 million. In addition to MDOT’s TEDF contribution, The Macomb County Department of Roads would provide $700,560 to the project.

State Rep. Anthony Forlini, R-Harrison Township, worked many years to get Yanfeng to locate in Harrison Township and is pleased to learn of the expansion and the positive changes it will bring to the area.

“This is great news for Harrison Township, and I am excited at the new job opportunities this will create,” said Forlini. “Executive Drive is important to our community and to local industry because it leads to the only industrial property in the township. The businesses located on Executive Drive provide jobs to local workers and revenue for Harrison Township, which are vital to the economic growth of the township.”

Yanfeng was one of the companies Forlini visited on his trade mission to China before it decided to locate in Harrison Township.

“Yanfeng chose Michigan for its new facility over other states and Canada,” Forlini said. “This is further proof that the efforts of offering a welcoming hand to create a positive business environment are paying off.”

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