Leaders still working to bring chemical company to town

By Anthony Antoine | aantoine@wcia.com

Published 06/26 2014 06:03PM

Updated 06/27 2014 01:03PM

Update: 10:08 pm
TUSCOLA -- Hundreds of jobs may be headed to the area. The city is one step closer to getting a new fertilizer plant. Cronus Chemical is based in Chicago. It's looking to build in Illinois or Iowa. The Illinois EPA gave it a preliminary permit to move forward with the plant in Tuscola.

Thursday night, a public hearing was held for the community. About 75 people showed up. Most were hoping it wasn't another Futuregen. Construction would take at least three years. The final permit will be issued in August.
Original: 6:03 pm
TUSCOLA -- The city is one step closer to getting a new fertilizer plant and hundreds of jobs which come with it. Cronus Chemical is a fertilizer company out of Chicago. It's looking to build a state-of-the-art plant in Illinois or Iowa. WCIA-3's Anthony Antoine finds out more.

The city got some good news Thursday. The Illinois EPA gave Cronus Chemical a preliminary permit to move forward with the plant here. A public hearing takes place Thursday night for the community.

They're all promising signs the plant will eventually come to town. Tuscola seems to be prime real estate for Cronus Chemical.

"We've got five major natural gas transmission systems that intersect here."

That's exactly what the company needs. If the plant comes to Tuscola, its equipment will use heat from the natural gas to make fertilizer. The water needed to cool the plant will come from here; the Champaign-Urbana Sanitary District.

"It was very important for us because this directly impacts us from what we get from the arrangement."

They signed a contract in March to use the treated water, but they have to get it there. Building about 20 miles of pipe underground is the way to do it.

"We feel good about that process and the landowners' group has really been a good group to work with."

The fields are covered in soybeans right now, but if all goes according to plan, this construction will create close to 2,000 temporary jobs and 225 permanent ones.

"We've got a lot of trades here that are not working like they have in the past. A lot of guys that need work, so we have very readily available labor. Jobs that will put more money in the local economy. This will be one of the largest manufacturing projects in Illinois in probably 20 years. But, all the end products will get sold within 200 miles. It'll all be fertilizer that will be going on fields in Central Illinois."

Construction will take at least three years, so businesses will have the opportunity to make some money with increased foot traffic, not to mention the dollars generated from the sales and fuel taxes. So, leaders are feeling good about what's next.

The Illinois EPA wants to know what concerns the community may or may not have. The meeting, Thursday night, is at Tuscola High School at 7 pm. Representatives from Cronus Chemical will be there. The final permit will be issued in August.

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