Posted in News on February 02, 2018

2/2/2018 // ZEELAND, MICH – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) recently announced their investment of $2.1 million to support a $6 million project to provide a sustainable water supply for growing businesses and additional capacity for future development. The water infrastructure improvements will support Fairlife’s installation of a fourth milk products bottling line in their Coopersville facility. 
“As Fairlife continues to grow, so do the demands on local infrastructure. We’re incredibly grateful for the investment made by the EDA to support infrastructure improvements in West Michigan,” said Anders Porter, Fairlife VP of Communications. “Special thanks as well to Lakeshore Advantage and the City of Coopersville for supporting this key initiative.”
The water supply improvements will also allow for business growth at two area metal fabricators, Conveyor Concepts and Ranger Die, Inc.
“We appreciate that the City of Coopersville is working to match infrastructure growth to the growth that businesses in the community are striving for,” said Leo Raap, president of Ranger Die, Inc. 
Collectively, Fairlife, Conveyor Concepts and Ranger Die will invest $54.5 million and create 70 jobs.
“We were initially attracted to Coopersville by its sense of community, hard-working people, and support of the local small businesses. Now 13 years and four expansions later, we have greatly appreciated the relationships we have developed with other local businesses and the continued support from the city government,” said Doug Stapley, Conveyor Concepts of Michigan president. “We see a bright future here in Coopersville.”
Lakeshore Advantage, the local non-profit economic development organization that supports primary business growth in Ottawa County, has been working with the City of Coopersville to leverage state and federal dollars for infrastructure water projects needed to sustain the growing dairy, food processing and manufacturing industries in the region. Lakeshore Advantage first prepared an EDA grant application on behalf of the City of Coopersville in 2015. That application was not approved due to strong competition in the Great Lakes region for limited federal funds at that time.

“In my experience, EDA grants are extremely hard to come by. This grant award has been over two years in the making, withcountless hours spent pouring over data and information, with much rewriting, collaborating and research,” said Jennifer Owens, Lakeshore Advantage president. “Perseverance and patience paid off in this instance, not only for the City of Coopersville, but also for the major employers and neighboring communities.”
The EDA federal grant will fund one-third of the construction upgrade of a municipal water system traversing portions of the City of Coopersville, Allendale Charter Township and Polkton Charter Township to increase water supply volumes and reliability.

“Polkton Township is pleased to participate collaboratively with our municipal neighbors regarding the redundant water line project,” said Bill Sahlberg, Supervisor, Polkton Charter Township. “We have found that working with our neighbors on common issues is the best answer for all involved. Improving our water infrastructure will be key for our future growth.“
Allendale Charter Township and Polkton Charter Township are each contributing $385,280 to this project.
“Looking to the future, we know upgrades are needed to the system for the benefit of Allendale, Polkton and Coopersville residents,” said Adam Elenbaas, Allendale Charter Township Supervisor. “The EDA grant takes a large burden off of local funds.”
The City of Coopersville Municipal Water Project-Phase I has been in the planning stages for a few years and will cost $6 million to complete. The project will bring redundancy and increased water supply reliability to industrial, residential and commercial customers, and the increased capacity will allow for greater investment and the opportunity for job growth in Coopersville and surrounding areas.

“We greatly appreciate and thank the EDA for their contribution to this very important and significant project,” said Steve Patrick, city manager for the City of Coopersville. “We are also thankful for the support and assistance Lakeshore Advantage provided in leveraging these federal funds to support our community’s water infrastructure needs.”

Lakeshore Advantage also recently assisted Fairlife and Continental Dairy in securing $2.4 million in Michigan Business Development Program Grant funds from the State of Michigan to install an on-site wastewater pre-treatment unit in 2017. 

About the Companies
Fairlife, LLC is a Chicago-based health food company that produces and markets nutrient dense, great-tasting milk beverages made using a cold filtration process to remove lactose and sugars while maximizing the natural proteins, nutrients and minerals found in real cow’s milk. Conveyor Concepts of Michigan is a manufacturer of material handling systems and automation equipment. Ranger Die is a tool and die maker and manufacturer of stamped metal parts.