Road paves way for economic development

Published: Aug. 1, 2016 at 5:17 PM EDT
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Sometimes, the barriers to business can be easily solved. An improved road in Ahmeek is helping local businesses grow.

A simple road can mean a world of difference for a growing company. The Neuvokas corporation makes a synthetic building material. They know the importance of a road.

"When you can't get a heavy truck into your facility because of your load restrictions a couple of times a year, it just makes it difficult to actually perform business on a regular basis," said Erik Kiilunen, CEO of Neuvokas.

They moved into their current location in Ahmeek in 2014, but there was a problem. The road was Class B, meaning it wasn't always passable in winter.

"When Neuvokas originally purchased this building, we knew that we bought a facility without an all-season road," said Jay Isaacson, Mohawk Technology owner. "At the time we were saying, 'Can we run today? Can we not run today to bring a full truck into our facility?'"

This winter, they won't need to ask. The Michigan Department of Transportation's Transportation Economic Development Fund awarded a grant to re-pave Number 6 Road, the street connecting Neuvokas to U.S. 41.

Other businesses are already benefiting from the new road. Mohawk Technology is moving to a new location on Number 6 Road.

"Because this road was turned into Class A, it enabled us to build in this particular location that we have here," Isaacson added. "Otherwise, we would have had to find a different location with Class A road access."

the road is also paving the way for future employment. both companies say they plan to be steadily hiring new people over the next few years.