Kent County DPW will begin a process to master plan approximately 200 acres of land adjacent to its landfill in Byron Center, Michigan in August 2017. It is anticipated the land will be developed into a sustainable business park with an environmental focus instead of a municipal solid waste landfill as was originally intended. Critical to the master planning process, is to clearly communicate the objectives for future development of the property to stakeholders and the media.
1.Stakeholder Engagement & Facilitation
As part of the master planning process, a series of stakeholder engagement activities will be conducted. The meetings will be held in various locations and the selected firm will be expected to coordinate and facilitate these events for stakeholders. This includes assistance identifying and communicating with private waste companies, regional manufacturers, business entities, chambers of commerce, environmental and NGO communities, municipal leaders, non‐profit social services organizations, and neighbors within the Byron Township (Kent County) and Dorr Township (Allegan County) areas. Stakeholder meetings will communicate DPW’s vision, build support around the case for change, help identify potential suppliers of waste material and byproducts, identify users of recovered material as well as identify objectionable project elements and strategies to mitigate.
2. Municipal Experience
This project will involve government sector stakeholders from many different levels such as townships (e.g. Byron, Dorr), counties (e.g. Kent, Allegan), and the State of Michigan (e.g.Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Department of Transportation, and Michigan Department of Natural Resources). It is important the selected firm have experience engaging public sector stakeholders.
3. Positive Media Relations
Kent County envisions this project having significant benefit to West Michigan, but also recognizes there can be skepticism and uncertainty surrounding projects resulting in change, particularly those led by the public sector. The ability to engage the local media and craft messaging to manage adverse initial reactions are important. In addition, Kent County DPW proposes to engage a public relations firm. This firm will promote existing DPW services to the public and tailor communication and public education consistent with the needs of its audience and within the context of this project.
1. Environmental Experience
Though not mandatory, the selected firm will need a firm grasp of core environmental concepts including sustainable materials management, circular economy, municipal solid waste, and solid waste industry key terminology (e.g. conversion technologies, waste to energy, landfill, transfer station, recycling, processing facility, compost).
2. Understanding of West Michigan Values
The process of the selected firm listening to understand where this project has community support or concern is critical to its success. An understanding of political, social, and economic dynamics of local communities is important.
August 28, 2017
Strong contenders for this could include APCO Worldwide.