$570K owed on back taxes at plant in Bridgman

An abandoned industrial plant in Bridgman has the potential to develop into a financial disaster for the small town.

According to the Berrien County treasurer, the back taxes plus interest have accumulated to over $570,000.

ICG Berrien Inc. is the most recent owner of the plant.

County officials said they foreclosed on the property after the company was unable to pay taxes for 4-5 years. 

If the plant is not sold by August, the local entities below will be sent an invoice to pay the county back for the taxes.

City of Bridgman                         $129,921.05

State of Michigan Education       $48,038.46

Bridgman Schools                       $78,895.22

Berrien County                            $45,760.32

Lake Michigan College               $14,294.47

RESA                                           $18,974.20

Bridgman Library                         $8,056.94

Drain                                             $5,796.01

Water/Sewer                                $10,263.80

Total taxes                                    $360,000.47

Interest                                         $210,093.15

Total owed                                   $570,093.62

People who live near the plant said it was operated by PEMCO for over 50 years and at one time it was a thriving place.

Charles Segar said now thieves have gone through it for scrap.

Segar said, “I think people have ransacked it. Took everything out of it!"

Sheri and Charles Segar said you can't see some buildings because the weeds are so tall on the property now.

Segar said, “It's just an empty eyesore but it's a nice location. If somebody could just do something with it, that would be nice.”

Officials in the county have continued to send anticipated tax dollars to local government agencies, but if the plant isn't sold soon, local agencies are going to be hit hard.

Segar said, “It would be a hardship for the rest of us in the area. A lot of us in this area are retired people living on fixed incomes. So it would be great if somebody would buy it.”

This plant is one of the largest in the county according to the City of Bridgman, and it has a lot of room for innovation.

But according to a report from Bridgman Police, in April a prospect was being shown around the plant when officials with the county realized the place had been stripped of copper.

The county estimated the copper stolen is worth $250,000.

County treasurer Bret Witkowski said this was a huge setback because the interested buyer walked away from the deal.

Sheri Segar said Bridgman is a lovely town, and she hopes developers and innovators will look at the investment.

Segar said, “It's a small town. It's a clean neat little town. And we have a lot to offer!”

An auction is scheduled for July. For more information you can reach out to the Berrien County Treasurer's office.

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