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Marquette County Board passes resolution to support SEI expansion project

MARQUETTE — The entrance to Sawyer International Airport at K.I. Sawyer could be moved as a result of a proposed Superior Extrusion Inc. expansion.

A resolution in support of the expansion project, which could lead to the relocation of the airport’s current entrance along 11th Street, was passed by the Marquette County Board of Commissioners at its Tuesday meeting.

This is the first of four projected expansions proposed by the K.I. Sawyer-based SEI within the businesses’ 15-year plan, according to the resolution.

The proposed first part of the four-part project would require relocating the airport entrance from the 11th Street area. Officials from SEI, Sawyer airport and Marquette County said in phone interviews that the potential new location of the entrance has not yet been decided.

Officials are also examining funding possibilities, Marquette County Administrator Scott Erbisch said.

“Right now this is primarily funded through … the state grants and Superior Extrusion. We are looking at whether we can come up with anything to help with the road relocation. We are looking at our funding. The (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act money — as we have it now — is pretty much allocated to certain projects. But we did come in with some saving on our parking lot system that might help with offsetting some of the cost on relocating the new gate system.”

The proposed relocation also hinges upon regulatory approvals.

“The project’s ability to move forward is based on the Michigan Department of Transportation approval of the (airport entrance) relocation and also contingent upon state and local incentives, so it’s all depending (on those factors),” said SEI board member George LaBlonde.

The proposed expansion project, estimated to cost $16 million to $18 million, is projected to create “a minimum of” 44 jobs in Marquette County, the resolution states.

“In the interest of continuing to provide economic development for the Sawyer area and the county of Marquette, the Board of Marquette County Commissioners is in support of the SEI expansion project as proposed,” the resolution states.

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