WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — The line between industrial expansion and farmland in the city of Walker has reached the edge of an apple orchard, and it will bring more than 200 jobs.
Amazon plans to build a 113,000-square-foot sorting and delivery center on 4 Mile Road NW, across the street from Kenowa Hills High School, in an area once dominated by farms.
“It’s one of the largest tracts of undeveloped land in Walker as far as I know, and it was only a matter of time,” said neighbor Dale Hayes. “We knew it was going to be developed; we only found out on Labor Day that it was going to be Amazon.”
Hayes and his family have lived among the orchards and farms on the northern edge of Walker for 51 years. Back then, he said, “it was not uncommon to see hay wagons and horses going down the road, farmers hauling their hay.”
Soon, he will live across from Amazon’s 1,098-space parking lot.
The new facility, which must get final approval from the Walker Planning Commission, will be about one-eighth the size of its massive Gaines Township distribution center.
Workers will take semi-loads of packages from the Gaines Township center, sort them and send them out for final delivery.
Walker City Planner Tricia Anderson said she expects construction to start later this year and the facility to open in early 2021.
The project would transform the intersection of 4 Mile Road and Hendershot Avenue into a four-way stop and connect Hendershot with Northridge Drive, which will then be connected to Fruit Ridge Avenue.
City officials said they expect that would funnel most traffic from the high school.
“Any time jobs are being brought to the city, it’s a good thing,” Anderson said.
She said the project fits with the city’s 12-year-old master plan.
“It’s going to look like a very big change, but it’s something that the city of Walker has been planning for a really long time,” Anderson said.
As for Hayes, he said he has no plans to move.
“It’s inevitable, but it’s sad,” he said. “We didn’t move far enough out.”