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'Opportunity of a generation' | Gotion Battery Plant approved near Big Rapids

The $2.36 billion investment is expected to bring 2,300 good paying jobs to the area and could break ground as early as July.

GREEN CHARTER TOWNSHIP, Mich — The Michigan Legislature has given final approval Thursday for Gotion to build a battery plant in Green Charter Township.

Township Supervisor Jim Chapman says he is looking forward to breaking ground on what he calls the largest single business investment in Mecosta County history.

The $2.36 billion investment is expected to bring 2,300 good paying jobs to the area and could break ground as early as July.

“Today, we take another monumental step forward on our journey to bring thousands of good-paying jobs to the Big Rapids area,” Chapman said.

"This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will make a substantial positive impact for our residents and small businesses for decades to come," he said.

Champan said building this plant near Big Rapids will bring more people to its restaurants and more shoppers to its grocery stores.

On Tuesday, legislators and former US ambassadors met for a press conference to discuss funding for the Gotion project and called for a pause to consider funding for the plant.

During the meeting, Gotion's Vice President of North American Affairs Chuck Thelen said that Gotion Inc. is a subsidiary of its Chinese parent company and is independent from any communist influence.

"Has the Communist Party penetrated this company? No," Thelen said during a panel discussion for community members. "Do we have articles of incorporation that require a specific paragraph where you don't do business in the country of China? Yes."

Hundreds of people of Mecosta County have come out to protest against the plan being built in their community.

"There's a lot of community members that have concerns: environmental, health, the ownership of the company," said Engelsman.

Mary Engelsman, who lives near the township, joined hundreds in April protesting Chinese company Gotion's plans to build an electric vehicle battery plant in Green Charter Township.

Chapman and his board of trustees voted unanimously to support of the project in December.

"You're talking about an area with 19.1% poverty rate in this county," said Chapman. "Okay, you are talking about over the next five years this bringing 2,350 permanent jobs, before it does that it is going to bring hundreds of temporary construction jobs."

The battery plant came after a State Board approved more than $400 million in state incentives for two battery plants to be built in Michigan, the other being built in Novi. 

In a statement, Right Place CEO Randy Thelen said:

“We are excited to see this a once-in-a-century opportunity for the Big Rapids area moving forward,” said Randy Thelen, president and CEO, The Right Place, Inc. “The Gotion facility will bring thousands of good-paying jobs to the community and propel the region into the forefront of EV manufacturing. We look forward to working collaboratively with state and local leaders as this incredible opportunity becomes a reality.”

Mecosta County officials released statements Thursday afternoon after the state approved funding for the project:

“This is a pivotal moment for Mecosta County residents, small businesses, and communities,” said Karen Hahn, Mecosta County Register of Deeds. “Final state approval for Gotion’s investment will bring economic vibrancy, electric vehicle battery component supply chains, and good-paying jobs to right here in Mecosta County. Thanks to our strong partnership with state officials, we are ready to build a bright future for Mecosta County residents.”

“State approval of Gotion’s transformative $2.3 billion investment demonstrates Mecosta County is a great place to invest,” said Jerrilynn Strong, Chair of the Mecosta County Board of Commissioners. “As ‘The Gateway to the North,’ we are more than just a great place to enjoy Michigan’s outdoors. We will be the epicenter of the future of American manufacturing, building thriving communities and creating good-paying, American jobs you can raise a family on. Let’s keep investing in Mecosta County families, small businesses, and residents.”


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