GLADSTONE - The Gladstone City Commission voted to sell the land surrounding the Department of Public Works building to K&M Industrial LLC for $48,000.
The action came at Monday's commission meeting. The land will be used for the construction of facilities for fulfilling governmental industrial contracts.
The first phase of the project will be the construction of an industrial maintenance rebuilding and manufacturing complex and parking area.
According to Josh King, owner and president of K&M, the first phase will result in the creation of between 10 and 12 new jobs.
K&M Industrial LLC offers dockside ship repair, including on site welding and maintenance. King said the business contracts with the U.S. Coast Guard, working mostly on fire pumps, bilge pumps and AC pumps.
"We're currently in contract with them," King said in a phone interview this morning. "We've just outgrown where we're at. It makes sense to move our business on the water. Our hope is that we can provide another dock.
"It's a good economical move," he said.
King also owns Bayside Engineering and Manufacturing, which he said will remain at its current site in Escanaba.
Because there must be a baseline environmental assessment performed on the land by the Department of Environmental Quality and approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, the city has agreed to extend the time required for development on land sold by the city from 18 months to 24 months.
King is prepared to apply for the multiple permits necessary to build the facilities and use the unpatented bottom lands, which are portions of the lake owned by the state requiring special permits to use. "If we don't get approved for it, I'll apply again. That's just how it is," said King.
Phase two of the project will be the construction of a mooring dock, marina, vessel repair facility, and a shipping and receiving facility. The second phase could take as long as three years after the completion of Phase One, and is expected to bring in another eight to 10 jobs.
The land is currently being used to store equipment used by both public works and the recreation department. Once the sale has been finalized, King has allowed to lease the land back the the city for the purpose of storing equipment until the city has found a new place for the equipment or the equipment becomes an issue for the progression of the project.
"We're going to lose all our outside storage, and a department can't function without outside storage. You'd have to put us up somewhere," said Barry Lund, public works superintendent. Lund added this was a good time for the city to begin looking for a replacement location for the outdated DPW facilities.
K&M is willing to assist the city in the transition. "The big thing is the salt storage you have there, and we're bringing the crane in so we'll help move ... we're all about trying to work together," said King.
King plans to keep the new facility focused on government and military contracts. "I'm 100 percent aiming towards Coast Guard vessels, not the private industry. We want to do dockside work," he said.
Coast Guard vessels could bring new businesses and visitors to the city. "If I could, and the government would accept it, I'd give out a voucher for whatever restaurant or wherever they can go, and try to promote business," said King.
The commission expressed excitement over the sale and the prospects for new economic growth in the city. "The only negative thing is finding a place for our stuff," said Commissioner Hugo Mattonen.