We were going to wait until Wednesday to release this article. That was to be the date of the meeting with the Mayor. But, as there appears to be some activity at the site, here we go.
Last week I was fortunate to overhear the details of a meeting to be held this Wednesday, with the Mayor, for Louis Structural to pitch a project Here are the details as I heard them.
The proposal to be pitched involves the Case Clausen Works site In Mt. Pleasant. This site has been vacant for quite some time and is owned by Mt. Pleasant. Racine has the first right for refusal, as the site is adjacent to the Racine Wastewater facility. The site is approximately 100 acres. The City would be interested in 25 acres for the wastewater treatment expansion. The other 75 acres is the subject of this scheme.
On the surface the proposal sounds like a great, environmentally conscience approach. Something the Mayor could easily support. Here are a few factors involved in this proposal. Garbage would be thermo-hydraulically cleansed. That is heat and a lot of water. Garbage would then be compressed and amalgamated into structural building blocks. Machines for this process are made by M.D.A., an Italian firm that sells only two of these machines a year. Once made, these garbage bricks would need to be transported. But wait, the railway spur was removed long ago and the same problem that has left Racine isolated from easy transportation of goods or tourist destination advantage is the lack of convenient access to the Interstate system. The developer of this process plans to leverage exclusive rights for the equipment sales in the United States with the purchase for this project.
If this sounding more and more like a Machinery Row type scandal, wait.
Where is the garbage coming from? While some will be from Racine, who has done little homework or planning for the imminent closing of the Kestrel Hawk site, when it reaches capacity, the bulk will be from CHICAGO! That’s right. Regular barge traffic from Chicago will bring hundreds of thousands of tons of their garbage to Racine. How’s that for a big positive for Racine. Racine, the garbage Mecca for Chicago. What will happen to the garbage spilled and wind-blown from this traffic? Imagine the explosion in the populations of vermin and terns feeding off this veritable buffet. What a wonderful use of lakefront property. For those of you who have been in the neighborhood of the wastewater treatment plant when the wind shifts, you can only imagine the stench of thousands of tons of week-old garbage waiting in the sun to be processed.
How do they propose to finance this project, outside of the city’s [your tax dollars] financial input?
This is where the ‘Smart City” and “Zero Waste” dollars come into play. Part of the advantage of this “Smart City” movement for elected officials. Is the new source of cash and the opportunity to appoint, through nepotism, their buddies to a “Smart City” consortium which would administer these funds. Essentially an RDA for the Eco movement.
Initial infrastructure investors are expected to see a 16 time return on their investments with no ownership rights. The proposing developer maintains ownership and acquires exclusive rights to sell the machines in the United States and Racine residents are left with the impact of importing 25,000 tons of trash on a monthly basis.
Keep your ears to the ground folks. This “Smart City” evolution will bring a stream of charlatans to reap the benefits of the gullibility of our City’s administration and the abundant influx of available grants and funds.