The Wall Street Journal reports today on the ongoing debate to bring an iron-ore smelter to Crystal City.
The story, "Jobs Unwanted," compares Crystal City to that of many factory towns looking to revive themselves as the nation’s economy transforms from manufacturing to service industries.
Notes WSJ writer Timothy Aeppel: "On one side are those welcoming almost any decent-paying job, even relatively 'dirty' ones, as employment that the community otherwise wouldn't have. The other side is dominated by those who see certain kinds of development as worse than no jobs at all. The question boils down to a surprisingly philosophical one for communities caught in this quandary: Are all jobs created equal?""Smelterville," the proposed industrial plant continues to split Crystal City into two camps, with Mayor Tom Schilly and developer Jim Kennedy leading efforts to bring the smelter and its prospect of 700 jobs to town.
Many residents, meanwhile, have banded together to form "Concerned Citizens for Crystal City," a group that opposes the smelter and the clandestine nature in which the city and the developer worked in secret to plan the initial stages of the project.
In developing news, Wall Street Journal reports the opposition to the smelter has caused financial backer China Minmetals to back way from $1-billion project. Developer Jim Kennedy, according to WSJ, is confident he'll find additional financing.
Unlike Riverfront Times, the financial daily managed to get a comment -- sort of -- from former senator and one-time presidential candidate Bill Bradley.
A native of Crystal City, Bradley is believed to be in discussions to sell a 350-acre farm to Kennedy that will be part of the smelter. Last January, the city rezoned Bradley’s property for use as an industrial site.
"I don't want to make any comment on the property or the situation,” Bradley tells WSJ. "It's just such a volatile situation. You have people in the community who really want it and others who are dead set against it."