Demolition of Jerry's grocery store has begun 

County receives grant to fund clean up

BALDWIN -- Demolition has begun on the former Jerry's grocery store site in Baldwin. Once the buildings on the property are removed, clean up of the contaminated soil and removal of three underground tanks will begin.

Lake County has received a $350,000 brownfield development grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to help cover the costs of the contamination cleanup and the demolition.

Lake County Administrator Tobi Lake said in a news release from EGLE, "Lake County and the Lake County Economic Development Alliance are thankful to the Michigan Brownfield Redevelopment program for seeing the value of cleaning up and redeveloping this eyesore on Main Street in Baldwin, by awarding a grant for remediation and demolition."

Lake said for each step of the project, a work plan has to be completed and submitted to the state in order to be reimbursed by the grant funds.

"The developers were anxious to get going and asked us to approve a work plan for the demolition," Lake said. "That has begun, and they have steps in place for remediation of any asbestos. The next step is to get with the environmental consultants to develop the decontamination plan."

Midwest V, LLC, has purchased the property and plans to invest around $1 million for redevelopment of the site.

Once cleanup is completed, Midwest plans to build a new Dollar General store on the site and relocate a smaller store in Baldwin to the new location, transferring existing jobs and adding two more full-time positions as well as some part-time and seasonal jobs.

The investment is expected to add around $18,000 in new tax revenue.

Clean up of the site will involve removing three underground storage tanks and around 500 tons of contaminated soil, which will be replaced by clean soil. In addition, barriers will be installed to prevent exposure to any subsurface contamination.

Lake County officials applied for the EGLE Brownfield Redevelopment Grant in November, stating that without the grant funds to help cover the cost of the cleanup, development of the property was unlikely.

BOC member Karl Walls said at the time that it is a huge deal to get the property cleaned up because several interested parties have looked at the property, but the cost of cleanup kept them from moving forward.

Brownfield redevelopment grants provide funding to local government and other public bodies to investigate and remediate sites of environmental contamination for identified redevelopment projects. The goal is to ensure safe reuse of abandoned, vacant or underutilized properties that are known to be contaminated.