2009.09.02 Larry Stover: Manufacturing space is important

Written by David Green.

I’ve been listening to the debate on whether we as a community should take a valuable industrial property and turn it into a building that will house our police department. I haven’t offered an opinion and I haven’t been asked by any council person to comment on this endeavor, but after reading the editorial last week I felt the need to speak out.

Before I begin I’d like to say that I appreciate and respect our police department and feel their needs have to be met so they can serve our community in the capacity we all want as citizens. It’s just in any decision we make as a community it needs to be thoroughly thought out and I don’t feel the council has listened to people on both sides of the debate.

When our city takes valuable industrial property which can make money and turns it into a building that will consume money then we ought to take a harder look at the decision we’re making. You have to understand it’s going to cost a lot more money to bring that building to code and meet the needs of the police department. So compare these facts: to lease industrial property it costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 per square foot. This, of course, is a building that has been wired for 440 three-phase, has shipping capabilities for truck lines, and has considerable ceiling height to house machines for manufacturing. You want these buildings to be in good shape so you don’t have to worry about having expensive machines damaged by outside weather elements, too. Any of these are perks for a company to move into a facility, but having all of them, which to my knowledge is what this building has, is a deal maker. This building has about 8,000 square feet which in turn could pay $48,000 per year in lease payments. Even if we make deals with companies to locate there we’d be further ahead than the path we’re heading down.

Let me focus on another item: To have a manufacturing facility that has the size to employ 20 to 40 employees using the average of $14 per hour it would generate nearly $600,000 per year or up to $1.2 million in wages. Not to mention the possibility of them purchasing housing in town, buying products from the local businesses and bringing more students into our school district. These are all win-win situations that could happen.

Granted, manufacturing is down globally, but I think it will be back and that there will be a need to create manufacturing jobs in the U.S., Michigan and better yet in Morenci. Let’s think about this again and keep that facility for what it was made for, industry.

– Larry Stover

E. Chestnut Street

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