IONIA, Mich. — The old Deerfield Correctional Facility in Ionia has sat vacant for over a decade, but the city is excited about what the more than 40 acres of land could soon become after the state approved $1.1 million for its demolition.
“It's a deteriorating structure,” says Ionia Mayor Dan Balice. Structures, the city or state has no use for and it’s taking up prime real estate on top of a hill looking down on the Grand River. Not to mention the ready-to-go hookups to the city’s water and sewer system.
“The buildings were built relatively recently, in the 1990s,” says Balice. “The buildings were built---when prison populations were expanding greatly. They needed the beds and so they put up basically pole barns.”
In the infrastructure bill signed by Governor Whitmer this week, is a little more than a million dollars to take down the facility and prep the area for redevelopment. “It's a fantastic thing for Ionia. And it's a great thing for the state to do,” says Balice.
It's exciting for the city, because of what the land off Harwood Road could one day be. They’re in talks about possibly expanding the school district's trade program, or even building more housing.
“We have some really exciting possibilities that involve education, light industrial, housing, we definitely have the need for more housing, and it's an absolutely gorgeous piece of ground,” Balice added.
It’s unclear when exactly work will begin, but the idea is it will start sometime within a year.