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Future Niles natural gas plant expected to start construction

Future Niles natural gas plant expected to start construction. // WSBT 22 photo

It's a $1 billion project that will provide cleaner energy.

A natural gas plant in Niles is expected to start the construction phase later this year.

Project leaders met with Michigan Representative Fred Upton on site.

Upton says he was already scheduled to be in town. So he decided to take a quick tour of the property where a 38-acre facility will soon stand.

For more than 15 years the city of Niles has pushed for the natural gas plant to be built. Now, it's getting closer to seeing that dream come true.

Upton, Niles Mayor Nick Shelton and INDECK met on site to discuss the last step of the project.

"We've got the state financing. We're going to complete investor financing for the project. We've got a number of investors already on board. We'll be meeting with them this week,” said David Hickman, INDECK vice president of business development.

The plant will create enough energy to power 635,000 homes.

It will also create about 25 million in tax revenue for Niles over the next 27 years, almost $1 million a year.

"Just going to invest it right back into the community. Do whatever we can to make our community better,” said Shelton.

Upton says the state of Michigan has approved more than $140 million for the project.

He says the location for the plant is perfect.

"This Is not being parachuted in a long stable neighborhood that's going to disrupt normal traffic. I mean you can take a good look at 360 degrees. You got an old factory that's been closed," said Upton.

Not only will Niles benefit from the revenue.

INDECK says once the plant is up and running, it will create 49 jobs for southwest Michigan, many of them high-paying.

“Average salaries more than $80,000 a year. But we will also be sourcing during both construction and during operation period we will be sourcing supplies from the local communities,” said Hickman.

INDECK has already started clearing the site.

They're expecting to start construction this summer.

It will take about three years before it's in full operation.

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