We can all agree that our county needs more decent, long lasting, well paying jobs. However, we must be mindful of the types and kind of jobs we are talking about, and where those jobs may be located. In the case of a potential asphalt plant being considered via a special use permit within the confines of the Black’s Quarry just outside Rockton, and within two miles from where several thousands of homes, businesses, schools, and directly above the main source of water, I want to be crystal clear that I’m not against these jobs coming to our county, I am simply against the proposed location.
Sure, the creation of jobs is essential to a growing long lasting and strong economy. But the idea of building an asphalt plant literally above a major source of water that serves tens of thousands of fellow Winnebago County citizens can have a negative effect upon the value of thousands of homes and small businesses, where at least two public schools are within a couple miles of the proposed location, not to mention the potential health problems and future costs of those problems and the very real possibility of chemical seepage into a local source of water makes the proposed location a bad idea. In the end, if this plant ultimately gets approved by the current county board, the only winners will be Wayne Klinger, the owner of the asphalt company and the Black family who own the quarry.
The jobs created will almost assuredly be union jobs. While I am very pro-union, I’m also a realist when it comes to weighing the pros and cons of a given issue. I sincerely hope the unions come to understand the potential for environmental damage, the loss of home values due to the fumes and smells, the danger of having such a plant built nearly on top of a local water source, and the high probability for young children and the elderly getting sick from breathing in those fumes every day outweighs a handful of union jobs at this specific location. We’ve already had asphalt plants very near residential areas in Loves Park, and it is my hope to save the people of Rockton and Roscoe from the same problems in the future. Besides, there are plenty of cleaner and safer ways to create jobs, union or otherwise than an asphalt plant within two miles of so many homes and schools.
There are several existing industrial zones in our county that have plenty of room for an asphalt plant far enough away from people’s homes, businesses, schools, and waterways. The problem of course is the owner of the quarry seems to be the only guy really pushing for this to happen, which means there is little likelihood these jobs will ever exist if the proposed location is not accepted. So we have two choices here in our county; we either decide these few jobs are worth it or we find other ways to come up with safer and healthier ways to create similar jobs. With that said, according to motortrend.com recycled plastic being melted down to be used to build and repair roads is becoming a thing in England these days. Maybe we should look into that for future road projects in our county?