With more than 1,000 employees in its workforce, fruit processor Peterson Farms
is the largest employer in rural Oceana County and one of the largest fruit processors in the country. As the company has grown since its founding in 1984, workforce housing has become more and more of an issue — so much so, in fact, that Peterson Farms began building its own workforce housing to meet demand. The private well that supplies water to those apartments has since been deemed at risk of contamination; recent grant news will help connect the apartment units to the municipal water supply.
What it is:
With 52 rental units spread across nine apartment buildings, the workforce housing development at Peterson Farms provides affordable housing options in the sparsely populated Oceana County. The development includes amenities like park areas, free transportation services, and daycare.
The workforce housing will be connected to the municipal water service of the township of Shelby, where Peterson Farms is located. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, & Energy (EGLE) had recently deemed the private well at risk of contamination. A 2.71-mile water main extension and booster station will get the job done at an estimated total cost of $3.1 million.
How they’re doing it:
On Tuesday, Oct. 25, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced that the township of Shelby has been awarded $2.2 million in Community Development Block Grant
funds for the Peterson Farms Housing Infrastructure project. A $100,000 Rural Development Grant
from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) will help close the gap.
Why it’s important:
“The Shelby Township board is extremely thankful for the partnership with MEDC, EGLE and MDARD. This partnership came together to create a solution to support the largest employer in Oceana County and provides a solution for low- and moderate-income housing in a rural county,” Shelby Township Board member Marilyn Glover says in a statement. “This housing contributes significantly to the economic impact of both the County and Michigan agriculture.”
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