Future of power plant uncertain

By Anna Carrera

Published 04/30 2014 05:55PM

Updated 04/30 2014 06:28PM

CLINTON -- Some people are worried big business will up and leave their small town. They say the biggest employer in DeWitt County could be on its way out. The spokesperson for the Exelon Nuclear Power Plant says, as of now, there are no plans to shut it down. But, people who live nearby say it's not a matter of if, just when, it will happen. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera follows the story.

When you've lived somewhere your whole life, you see how important big changes can be. More than 20 years ago, a nuclear power plant was built just outside Clinton.

Resident Bob Shaw says, "We got more homes everywhere. Out in the country, our subdivisions got bigger."

It brought jobs for hundreds of people. Gave them a place to hang out on the water.

Kyle Williamson, manager of The Shack says, "They had a lot of events out there."

It gave businesses, like The Shack restaurant, a big boost.

Mayor Carolyn Peters says, "The employees come into town to eat. They buy their gas here. They shop in our grocery stores."

But, another big change could change everything. A spokesperson for Exelon says the Clinton plant is one of the least profitable in the state.

Mayor Peters says, "They've confirmed this year, it's not going to close, but they also said this plant is struggling."

Even though the city doesn't directly benefit from the power plant, closing would still be bad news. That's because taxes could go up to make up for the loss of money in the county.

"The struggle with be for our community. Will that make them choose another place to live because they can't afford the taxes?" says Peters.

Tax money from the plant helps fund schools and the library, so the idea of losing it hits very close to home.

"We've seen other local things around here. A lot of big business leaving towns and the effect that has," says Williamson.

"I think we need to start preparing for the possibility. Nothing lasts forever," says Peters.

Even though nothing is certain, people say they'll wait to see what other changes may come. Mayor Peters says they've offered to do what they can to keep Exelon in business in town. The spokesperson for the plant says they're working to make sure the company can stay profitable in the long run.

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