Delta County Industrial Air Park – City of Escanaba, Delta County

Park Info

The Delta County Industrial AirPark is 132 acres in size and is roughly 16% occupied – 110 acres unoccupied. Sizes of lots varies from 1 acre to 40 acres, and the price of land starts at $0.10/square foot for lease, dependent on acreage. Sale starts at $15,000/acre, dependent on acreage. The Park is not contiguous: some parcels are available along S. Lincoln Rd. and Airport road on the south side and another portion of the Park is accessible off 13.75 Rd and 5th M Lane. The north section is wooded and has no utilities into parcels and is NOT within the city limits. FAA restrictions is causing problems with selling some parcels, so long term leases are being offered. Drainage ditches create development issues on some parcels.

The industrial park is located in the Delta County Airport Industrial Renaissance Zone. The Zone designation will continue until 2017. Taxes abated under the Michigan Renaissance Zone Law include: Single Business Tax, State and City income tax, General Property Tax, Industrial Facilities Tax, Commercial Forest Tax, Neighborhood Enterprise Zone Tax. Tax relief will be phased out in 25% increments beginning 2015. State Highway M-35 is less than 1 mile away, as well as US-2 and US-41. The County Airport is located on-site. Nearest railroad access is at Whitetail Industrial Park approximately two miles away. Rail service is provided by CN. Utilities for the park include City of Escanaba for water and wastewater (underground), DTE for natural gas, and Merit Network for fiber.

Environmental Info

According to the latest FEMA flood maps, dated 1998, a flood zone (A zone) exists along Portage Creek. The National Wetland Inventory shows that wetlands are present in the southwest portion of the industrial park, particularly along Portage Creek. Although the NWI shows wetlands, significant development has already occurred in the area. A permit may be required depending where on-site energy development may occur. The Michigan Natural Features Inventory provides a listing of rare and endangered species by County. Delta County has 88 different plant and animal species listed under the MNFI. Because of the sensitivity of specific locations of these species, the MNFI has created the Biological Rarity Index, which provides a ranking (high, moderate, low) of finding a rare or endangered species in a certain location by Public Land Survey System (PLSS) Sections. At the Delta County site, the Section 38N23W01 (east portion of park area) is identified as having a high probability of finding endangered or rare species.

The EPA’s ERMA (Environmental Response Management Application) provides data on sensitive habitats and species. Data from 1994 suggests several sensitive species in the area, primarily on the shoreline side of M-35. No species are identified within the park area. According to the Michigan DEQ, No sites of environmental contamination (PA201 sites) are present within the park. Three (3) sites in the area have underground storage tanks that have either been removed or closed.


Community Info

Population (U.S. Census, 2010):  12,616 (City of Escanaba); 37,069 (Delta County)

Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (Delta County – MI BLM, 2014)

% of population high school graduate or higher: 91.2

% of population bachelor degree or higher: 4.1

% of population with a disability: 17.9

% of population that are veterans: 11.4

Zoning/Development Info

The Industrial Park falls under City zoning, and is in the Light Industrial Zoning District. The City would have to change the zoning or develop a text amendment to allow “electrical power generation,” as this is currently neither a permitted nor special use. A site plan is required for all industrial buildings and uses. Escanaba has all development procedures outlined clearly on its website ( The City participates in the MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities program, which indicates it has development-friendly procedures. The entire industrial park is subject to FAA regulations due its location on airport property. Any construction must be approved by the FAA (Part 77 regulations) and Michigan Aeronautics Commission.

Upper Hand Brewery is a good example of a business that prioritizes energy efficiency as a part of their corporate sustainability culture. Despite very low electric rates, Upper Hand Brewery is able to realize energy savings through installing energy efficient technologies as a part of their facility expansion.

Escanaba city utility is currently investigating a novel community solar project, where ratepayers can lease panels on a single large installation owned and operated by the city utility. Such a project can leverage economies of scale and can reduce barriers for solar PV adoption for some industrial park customers.

Energy Efficiency Retrofits

Upper Hand Brewery is a good example of how low energy rates are not a barrier for energy cost reductions. Retrofitting lighting with LEDs still offers a good payback for most customers in this park.

Natural Gas

Natural Gas is available in abundance at this industrial park, and is used widely. Low energy rates and very low demand rates make any creative application of natural gas co-gen (CHP) systems currently a low priority option at this park.


Despite low rates, solar PV remains viable for most customers in this park, and is made accessible through a proposed community solar project. Community solar allows ratepayers to buy individual panels on a jointly owned large solar PV array. Such a consolidated project offers many advantages to business that are constrained by lack of adequate roofspace or solar potential on their own facilities. A preliminary study into the feasibility of this project is expected to conclude in May, 2016.


Proximity to the Delta County Airport runway, and subsequent FAA regulations make wind energy an unviable option for most businesses in this park.


Geothermal is currently not implemented by any businesses in this park, with building heating being a small portion of energy costs. However, in a possible future with higher gas prices and low electric rates in this industrial park make geothermal a viable option for new small businesses coming into the park.


Biomass is currently not implemented by any businesses in this park. With the absence of any businesses within the park that use wood product, biomass is likely to remain an unviable option in this park.

Industrial Waste Heat Recapture

Current businesses are unlikely to produce enough waste heat to make Industrial Waste Heat Recapture a viable option. However, Upper Hand Brewery has already implemented ambient air cooling technology, reducing their energy consumption by partially circulating naturally cold outside air during some winter months.