HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) - President Barack Obama will travel to Holland on Thursday forthe groundbreaking of a plant that will produce battery cells forelectric vehicles.
Obama will attend the event at Compact Power Inc., which is asubsidiary of LG Chem.
A $151 million grant was awarded to the plant in August 2009. Aspart of the Recovery Act, the funding is meant to be used to boostthe production of advanced batteries and vehicles. According to theWhite House, those funds were more than matched by the company.
More than 200 people are expected to attend the groundbreakingceremony, including Ruth Corlett, a 91-year-old lifelongDemocrat.
She and her husband's families have spent every summer on LakeMichigan's Douglas shores for more than 100 years.
She has black-and-white photos showing those distant relativesfrom decades ago, lining the walls of her family's summer home.
After generations of her family members working in the autobusiness, she is excited her family will see Obama speak Thursday,Corlett told 24 Hour News 8 on Wednesday -- especially at an eventcelebrating the future of the auto industry.
"I think it's wonderful publicity for them -- marvelouspublicity for them," she said. "Jeez Louise, it couldn't be better.I can't remember a celebrity much bigger than the President of theUnited States spending time here, or in Holland at all."
The plant eventually will produce advanced battery cells forcars such as the Chevy Volt and the electric Ford Focus. Whencomplete, it is expected to bring and save hundreds of jobs in WestMichigan.
"It's very exciting," Corlett said. "It kind of helps putHolland on the map as it were."
She believes the visit will be good for West Michigan regardlessof political views.
"It hasn't anything to do with politics ... Democrat,Republican, Independent," Corlett said. "It's just -- Holland has asitting president coming to town, and that's pretty special."
Work already has started on the site at East 48th near Waverly,but the official groundbreaking will take place with Obama inattendance.
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