Letter: Resident objects to possible potato processor coming to Point

To the Editor-

Though the decision has not been made as to where French fries will be made (North Dakota or Stevens Point), I believe it is a good thing to know what is involved and how the impact of a factory/plant is built before something happens and we are unable to have options. Educate yourself first, then choose.

The East Park Commerce Center offers some of the following arguments for choosing this place to build:
(Ryan Kernoskey’s name as community director is on the information)

1. No restrictive covenants, zoned Planned Industrial Development (increased flexibility).

2. Sewer and water to be extended by the city of SP, with large scale industrial operations capacity.

3. Adjacent to Portage County Business Park and Crossroads Commons Retail Center.

4. A tax increment finance district (TID or TIF) will encompass the entire site.

(More reasons can be found on the Stevens Point website.)

(1)The fact that there are no restrictive covenants and is zoned to have increased flexibility indicates to me that there is no respect or consideration to the existing businesses in the Business Park (SP) or Crossroads Common (Plover).

(2) Indicating that there is large scale capacity for sewer and water during a time of drought is as inane/insane as using 5.2 million gallons of treated water at the splash pad on the Square every summer. At a time when all use of water is at a critical crossroads, SP is telling people all you have to do is come here and we’ll give you access to our lifeblood, the precious water supply that is being challenged daily.
In a PBS special on our country’s water supply, the Ogallala aquifer (largest in the country) that supply’s ground water to seven states has gone down six inches, and only one half inch has been returned by Mother Nature. I don’t know about our city government understanding those stats, but I’d suggest we are all in real trouble. Water is not being replaced as per drought activity. We cannot live without water.

(3) Being adjacent to the SP Business Park, with great businesses like Skyward, Delta Dental, AIG, Aspirus, Furniture and ApplianceMart, etc., in Stevens Point, and Crossroads Commons (in Plover) and add a french fry factory belching out polluted air every day is showing complete and utter disrespect to those existing businesses and residents, who never expected a polluting plant to be at their back/front doors, polluting all areas within miles. Our city and state representatives are part of this willful disregard to businesses and residential areas surrounding East Park Commerce Center when they entered into a secretive plan to change a law (in Madison) to allow this abomination to exist. The people who live/work in SP and Plover were never told that this was happening. It’s not difficult to come to the conclusion that they didn’t want us to know.

(4)TIF and TID are the buzzwords of government entities that want us to believe that our city/town/village will be the best possible place to live and raise a family. They claim new tax base means new revenue, and on and on. But at what cost? Polluted air, possible water issues/restrictions, additional toxic chemicals coming to the area, additional semi-trucks, and the possibility of competing plants losing employees, or closing, and on and on. In the past two years, in this area, food processing, cheese making and other ag businesses are not continuing to survive. Is anyone listening, reading, researching the consequences ?

Do not follow irresponsible, uncaring, unrooted people. Save our city from bing altered forever at the hands of city government. Contact the mayor, common council members (alders), state Senators, Governor, all that are a part of decision making. Should the company in Belgium choose another city, then we still have an obligation to do the right thing for this area that we call home.

This opinion isn’t about for or against government. It’s all about right and wrong.

Ruth Pfiffner
Stevens Point