MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — There is a new port now open along the lakeshore.

Verplank Family Holding Company cut the ribbon on the facility in Muskegon on Saturday. It’s the largest deep water port facility in West Michigan.

The site is formerly the B.C. Cobb Generating Plant which had been in operation for about 70 years.

It took over two years to clean up the site and prepare for the grand opening though the idea was birthed decades ago.

“I was here in ’94 when this idea first came about and it has been a long long time coming so it feels great,” Ron Matthews, CEO of Verplank Family Holding Co., said.

Verplank will consolidate its other commercial dock operations along Muskegon Lake to the new site which will reduce traffic coming through downtown.

“We have docks along the southern side of the Muskegon Lake and we have a lot of traffic that goes downtown through Laketon Avenue,” Matthews said. “That’ll pull most of that traffic to this end of the lake so we don’t go into the cities and we’re less than two miles from the highway here so it’s easy in easy out and it’s good for the city and cheaper for customers.”

The company also opened a new state-of-the-art asphalt plant.

Verplank has operations based in Ferrysburg and Holland and employs 117 people. The new addition will bring in 15 jobs with more to come in the future.

“It’s a really big deal for the Muskegon area in that it adds to the port of Muskegon. It also keeps bringing in jobs. We have more jobs because of this facility,” state Rep. Terry Sabo, D-Muskegon, said.

Retired CEO and third-generation family leader Midge Verplank gave remarks during the ceremony. He said he couldn’t be more proud of where the company is today.