If you've driven along I-96 west of Grand Rapids, you've likely seen MLive's newspaper printing facility, with its recognizable wave-like design. The company announced this week they are shutting it down.

Opening in Walker in 2004, the plant currently produces The Grand Rapids Press, The Muskegon Chronicle, The Kalamazoo Gazette, The Jackson Citizen Patriot, The Ann Arbor News, The Flint Journal, The Bay City Times, and The Saginaw News.

According to MLive, those newspapers will be printed in Cleveland beginning Oct. 5, at the same facility that prints The Plain Dealer, which is affiliated with the Cleveland.com news website. MLive and Cleveland.com are owned by Advance Media.

MLive reports that the 71 employees employed at the Walker facility will be offered an opportunity to apply for positions at the Cleveland facility. Employees will also be offered a severance package that's been "enhanced due to the coronavirus pandemic".

Tim Gruber, president and chief revenue officer of MLive Media Group says,

“It was a difficult decision, especially since we have such dedicated employees who are really focused on helping us be the best that we can be. This decision wasn’t taken lightly."

Gruber says the decision was made to cut costs, as the Ohio facility has twice the production capacity as the Walker facility and Advance Local has "outside printing contracts that they wanted to maintain"  in Cleveland.

For customers who receive print versions of the papers, Gruber says the switch should not  not impact delivery times unless there are accidents on the roadway that impact trucking.

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