Kalamazoo County Commissioner Dale Shugars (R) is no stranger to politics, or development. He is a former State Representative and President of the Homebuilders Association, and current 9th District Kalamazoo County Commissioner encouraging the expansion of Western Michigan University’s Business Technology and Research (BTR) Park onto 44 acres of Colony Farm Orchard. Colony Farm Orchard resides within the 9th District, and at the March 17th County Commission meeting, Shugars was inclined to pitch his own ideas to Oshtemo Township about a possible annexation of Colony Farm Orchard to the City of Kalamazoo, utilizing Public Act 425. The Commissioner was prepared to solve problems at the meeting in favor of the BTR expansion and development of the Enchanted Forest.
On the positive side, in Public Act 425 (Sec. 4) “The legislative body of each local unit affected by a proposed transfer of property under this act shall hold at least 1 public hearing before entering into a contract under this act.”
From a March 18 report from WKZO in reference to the proposed BTR expansion: “Shugars says local governments are facing a long term funding crisis and if they don’t start protecting their tax base, they could wind up like Detroit.” This sounds like a scare tactic deployed on other Commissioners and their constituents.
It was also reported that Commissioner Kevin Wordelman had also prepared for the meeting and provided printed copies of an explanation of how to utilize Public Act 425 in favor of developing the Enchanted Forest.