Clare will add new manufacturer

By Pat Maurer

Review Correspondent

A new business is coming to Clare and plans to add 55 jobs over the next five years, with 10 to 30 added in the next year alone.

Jerold Zwas, CFO of Advanced Battery Concepts, LLC, was at the Clare City Commission meeting Monday to make a presentation about the new company, which will be located at 709 Industrial Drive.

The Midland Company plans to open in Clare within the next 30 to 45 days, and will assemble a new design of large batteries for wheelchairs, electric bikes, golf carts, electric shopping carts, minng cars, floor scrubbers, forklifts and other electrical vehicles with plans projected for other applications including batteries for wind generators.

The firm has agreements with Amigo, Crown Battery, TARDEC (U.S. Army) and the batteries are tested at the University of Toledo, Zwas said.

The new design of batteries are more environmentally friendly and have twice the energy, ten times the power and last four times longer than the old design. The new concept was invented by Advanced Battery CEO and Founder Ed Shaffer, Zwas said.

Revenue for the product, listed at $223,000 for 2011, is projected at $7,687,000 by 2013. The current market, estimated at $1 billion annually is projected to grow to over $3 billion, according to Zwas’s presentation.

Genine Hopkins also reported to the City Commission on the “Together We Can” group working on improving health care in the County. She said the group is working together to try and improve the county’s health ranking, currently the lowest in Michigan. Efforts include plans for affordable health care available at a local site, regional transportation, a monthly food truck funded through a United Way Grant and efforts to improve the job market. She said the group was meeting again Tuesday at Mid Michigan Community College and invited the board to come.

In another matter, the Commission held a second reading and approved an ordinance amendment that will allow farm animals in Residential – 1 properties: on two acres or more for small animals and four acres or more for larger animals. Permits would be required for the animals and also allows any residential single family home to have two chickens with a permit.

Other business at the City meeting Monday included:

*Setting Monday, October 31 from 6 to 8 p.m. as Trick or Treat Hours in the City.

*Approval of the renewal of the Title VI Policy regarding hiring practices in connection with the Michigan Department of Transportation Federal-aid highway funds as required by MDOT.

*Approved the purchase of six sets of firefighter turn-out gear at a cost of $8,700 to replace old gear. The funds are budgeted in the Fire Fund.

*A report by Treasurer Steve Kingsbury outlining the decrease in Federal Revenue Sharing Funds. Kingsbury said the amount received has dropped from a high of $228,562 in 2000-2001 to a projected amount of $61,305 this fiscal year.

*A report from City Manager Ken Hibl which included a Tuesday unveiling of the City’s new brand, a September 27 meeting to consider a request for a replacement well near the Hatton Township Dump site, completion of the Dunlop Street project and progress on the Railroad Depot roof project.

*Hibl also reported that Clare Municipal Airport Manager Dick Acker was selected to be president of the Michigan Airport Executive Association.