The Manufacturing Center, or shell building out front of the jail is one step closer to being sold after the Plymouth Board of Zoning Appeals approved a Special Use request for the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation.

Tuesday evening members hear the request to permit a waste collection, treatment and disposal facility on the property.

Plymouth Planning Consultant Ralph Booker said the project is planned for three phases.  Phase I would be the food waste analytics, Phase II would be the transformation of the food waste into a slurry, and it would be shipped to Homestead Dairy.  Phase III would be taking the slurry and making a gas for energy production with it anticipated in 2024 or 2025. 

Divert Inc. intends to purchase the property but needs the Special Use to allow the waste collection in the Industrial zone. While they are based out in Massachusetts they currently have 10 facilities with 6 more, not including this one under production across the country. 

An Attorney from Ice Miller was in attendance at the meeting representing Divert along with the MCEDC President and CEO Laura Walls and Divert employee Craig Davis on zoom.

The Plymouth BZA members were told that Phase I would include hiring 12 to 15 employees working one shift and 2 to 3 trucks a day in and out of the plant.  Phase II would be 15 to 25 employees working two shifts and 3 to 6 trucks daily with an additional investment of 5 to 6 million for equipment.  Phase III would have 35 plus employees working three shifts and 10 to 12 trucks daily.  This part of the project includes an additional investment of $50 to $60 million.

There is basically no order because the truck is driven into the plant, and then shipped out in Phase I.  In Phase II they would take the fruits and vegetables and create a slurry that would be shipped out.  In Phase III making the bio-gas includes a digester and the initial plan is to tap into the NIPSCO gas line just north of US 30.   

During the Public Hearing, Bill Walters who is a member of the Plymouth Plan Commission and Board of Public Works and Safety said he was impressed with the research of the company he did.  He said they are a clean and well-run operation and would be an asset to the City of Plymouth.

Laura Walls from MCEDC told the BZA the project is a partnership between the City of Plymouth, Redevelopment Commission and Marshall County.  She said this is a team effort that could bring up to 55 jobs paying $30 an hour. 

City Attorney Sean Surrisi told BZA members the Mayor and Plymouth Redevelopment Commission are supportive of the Special Use.

Plan Commission member and BZA alternate Fred Webster asked about shifts.  Mr. Davis said the number of shifts is dependent on customer demand.  Their current anchor customer is Target. 

After closing the public hearing the Plymouth Board of Zoning Appeals motions and approved the Special Use unanimously.