Nugent Sand Co. Looks To Use Railroads and North County Business Park To Increase Operations

Andrew Trzaska | April 14, 2011

Increased railroad usage may occur in Muskegon County soon.

Not for passengers, but for sand.

Local employer Nugent Sand Co. made its intentions known Tuesday at the county commission’s full board meeting to pursue plans to build a rail loading facility at the Muskegon Business Park North in Dalton Township later this year.

The North park was selected by Nugent Sand Co. because of its location near the company’s current Russell Road facility but more importantly because a rail spur currently exists at the park.

A pending contract with General Motors would require the company to produce a special type of sand at its Russell Road facility and ship it by rail to the company’s out-of-state operations.

The special sands that Nugent Sand Co. mines and processes are frequently used in metal castings.

Nugent Sand Co. president Bob Chandonnet appeared at Tuesday’s County Commission meeting to ask for cooperation and guidance from county officials and staff on getting everything in order for his company to move forward with its plans.

Chandonnet noted that multiple train cars of sand would be produced and shipped daily, and this agreement with General Motors would maintain, if not increase, employment at the company.

In his discussion with the board of commissioners, Chandonnet described these new efforts as “resurrecting a plan for growth” that initially began a few years ago but stalled when General Motors no longer required the sand.

District 3 Commissioner John Snider expressed a need for the county to do what it can to start placing industry in the near-empty North county industrial park.

“This is a major employer.  We’ve had discussions on this before… unfortunately, GM declined.  We need to get someone in there.”
Along with asking for county direction, Nugent Sand Co. is working with Muskegon Area First, the local economic development corporation as well as Dalton Township to achieve its plans.

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