A Good Deal: Plastics factory benefitted city 2012.11.28

Written by David Green.

It’s been troubling to watch the slow death of the plastics manufacturer in Morenci’s industrial park. The plant was once a vibrant industry with more than 250 employees and the claim as the world’s largest producer of plastic pallets.

There was a time when the facility was jumping forward to serve as major supplier of plastic containers for the food industry by turning out bulk storage units for products such as tomato sauce. Work spilled over into Fayette and provided jobs in a vacant industrial site for several years.

A variety of factors contributed to the demise of the plant, but Morenci is far from being left with nothing. Dating back to the late 1990s when the Mignin family first announced its company was expanding and moving to Morenci, grants totalling more than $2.5 million came this way. East Street South (M-156) was repaved, the Van Wagoner bridge leading out of town was improved, and the city’s water system was upgraded on the east side of town. In addition, infrastructure was put in place for an industrial park and tax revenue helped fund city projects.

We’ve lost what was once a major industry, but we’re better for the experience and now we’re ready to serve a new business in an excellent facility. 

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    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.

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