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Marshall residents push to bring Ford megasite decision to citywide vote

dirt road with large excavated fields on both sides
Courtesy of Staufer Aerial
Excavation has already begun on BlueOval Battery Park Michigan outside Marshall.

A local group has organized a petition drive that could bring the rezoning of the site to Marshall city voters.

The Marshall City Council recently approved the rezoning of a proposed Ford battery factory site, allowing it to move ahead. But some residents remain concerned about the impact of the nearly 2,000-acre megasite on the local environment.

A group of residents has begun a campaign urging the city to reconsider the rezoning. If it collects enough signatures, it could result in a referendum or city-wide vote on the change.

Glenn Kowalske is a Marshall Township resident. He says the city has not fully considered the concerns of area residents.

“It should have come to the city and township residents,” said Kowalske. “I’m going to guess a bulk of the residents would have said, ‘No, that’s too big’.”

The group has created a proposal to turn a large part of the site into a nature preserve or state park. Marshall City resident Regis Klingler says he understands that it may be too late to stop the development entirely. But his group wants Ford to consider preserving a portion of the site.

“Really, there’s nothing in this so far for the people of Marshall. It’s all for Ford,” said Klingler. “So why not do something for the people of Marshall? We would like a state park or state recreation area. That would be great.”  

Ford says it does plan to protect 250 acres of the property along the Kalamazoo River. It hopes to open the facility by 2026.