Reopening of Dixon cement plant might not be for long - – Rockford’s News Leader

Reopening of Dixon cement plant might not be for long


A Dixon cement plant that's been closed since 2008 says it's ready to reopen. Saint Marys Cement Inc. plans to bring dozens of jobs with it, but those jobs may not stay.

"It's a huge asset that has just been sitting idle out there," said Dixon Mayor Jim Burke.

Burke has fears over how long it will actually stay open. The company has a two-year contract on the Dixon plant, while it prepares a new facility in Michigan.

"This still is a positive thing for the city, whether or not they continue to run it," adds Burke. "Or maybe they end up selling it."

One of the positives the mayor is trying to focus on now, is jobs. A Saint Marys Cement spokesperson says the plant plans to hire 70 full-time employees.

"It has a ripple effect right down through the economy," Burke said. "It affects your convenient stores and other stores. The more they do affect, the more people they hire and everything, so those things have a huge economic impact on the community."

Depending on the success of the Dixon facility and the economy, there is a chance it could permanently stay open. Success was something it struggled with in 2008, a downturn in the economy forced it to close and nearly 100 people lost their jobs. On top of that, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined Saint Marys and its co-owner $800,000 for violating the Clean Air Act.

But those hardships are hopefully all in the past and the mayor says hopefully history doesn't repeat itself. The plant has hired people since January and hopes to be fully staffed by the end of this month.

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