- Gerry Dick
Plans For New Muncie Facility HaltedPosted: Updated:
Plans for a $75 million project and nearly 100 jobs at the former BorgWarner site in Muncie have come to a halt. Nigel Morrison, director of Waelz Sustainable Products LLP says “a campaign of misinformation tainted the process and ultimately made it impossible for the city council to continue supporting the project.”
The project was first announced in January. The announcement follows the opposition of Muncie residents who attended a city council meeting this month to nix the project. The Star Press reports the crowd filled the city hall auditorium while "hundreds more spilled into the lobby and out the doors into the parking lot."
WSP planned to establish a kiln facility to produce zinc oxide from steel mill byproducts.
While WSP and Muncie city and redevelopment officials have axed the proposed operations in Muncie, WSP says other cities are in talks to house the project. WSP is a joint venture between Indianapolis-based Heritage Environmental and Monterrey, Mexico-based Zinc Nacional.
“Identifying and vetting new business opportunities and partnerships that bring economic and civic benefit to our community is vital to the health and future success of Muncie,” said Todd Donati, director of the Muncie Redevelopment Commission in a news release. “This particular investment would have revitalized a decade-old eye sore, helped to address significant existing environmental issues at the site and generated hundreds of jobs in Muncie. I worked with WSP and its partners for more than a year and at no time, including now, did I feel that they would produce any product that would be dangerous to our community or environment. However, the vocal opposition to the facility by many in our city has made clear that this project would never enjoy widespread community support. While this is not the result we had hoped for, we respect the input from our concerned citizens and will continue to seek new opportunities for the redevelopment of the BorgWarner industrial site and new jobs for the City of Muncie.”