Residents and neighbors of Durand and Vernon Township fight to protect prime farmland, clean waterways, and the integrity of their beautiful agricultural community.
Codenamed “Project Halo,” the local Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership (SEDP) received $680,000 from The MEDC in December of 2022 to prepare the megasite for sale and development. The site is reportedly being vetted for Factorial Energy, a multinational startup manufacturer of solid-state EV batteries with opaque origins.
Project Halo initially spanned over 1,200 acres of prime agricultural land, on a site which drains directly into the Shiawassee River, a major watershed for Lake Huron. SEDP has since reportedly scaled the initial development site down to 300 acres, presumably due to significant pushback from both the community and some local officials. Economic developers insist the site will offer the same 3,600 jobs, within the smaller site, because of technological innovation.
In July of 2023, Swartz Creek City Council turned down an offer for an option to purchase city-owned land within the targeted development site, citing concerns over lack of transparency with the developer and concern over public sentiment against manufacturing 4.0 megasites. In August 2023, the nearby City of Durand withdrew itself from its charter with the SEDP, citing a lack of trust over opaque dealings regarding the Halo megasite.
Vernon Township’s board has expressed support for the project, as a “best case scenario” for the community, on the basis of the community’s need for jobs and development. Public sentiment, however, has been that agricultural communities prefer to remain agricultural communities–with clean drinking water.
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