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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

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General Motors Clean-up

The Obama administration on Tuesday proposed a trust fund of more than $800 million to pay for the clean-up of closed General Motors sites in 14 states, including the plant on 36th Street in the Grand Rapids area.

The plant at 300 36th St. SW in the city of Wyoming produced stamped-metal parts from 1935, when it opened, until it closed last year.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm welcomed the news, saying money will go to 47 sites in Michigan. "Even as we work to finalize the trust agreement, we are extremely pleased the Obama administration is providing tools to help our local communities transform these iconic properties for the new economy."

The past few months, the city of Wyoming has been working with a consultant ( hired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop a re-use plan with zoning regulations for the property.That plan will be up for City Council approval next month, City Manager Curtis Holt said. To implement the plan, he hopes money is available for environmental cleanup and demolition. "The usefulness of the funding for us is, No. 1, (the site) needs to be environmentally cleaned up and, No. 2, we believe it's highly unlikely somebody's going to want 2 million square feet in the configuration it's in today," Holt said.

"I would hope the money stands there and is ready to be used. "We were under the belief there was money already set aside for this. Whether this adds to that, I don't know." Granholm said the rehabilitation of the manufacturing sites would help states trying to lure "green" manufacturing jobs such as battery production, wind turbines and solar panels. "We want to make these sites the place for them to locate," Granholm said.

Grand Rapids Press, contributed by Associated Press, May 18, 2010

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