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. 

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
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    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
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    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
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    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
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    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
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    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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