Logansport officially came out Monday against the proposed zinc reclamation plant that Waelz Sustainable Products Incorporated (WSP) intends to build in the Cass County Agribusiness Park.
At the Logansport City Council meeting, the council members voted unanimously to pass a resolution labeled “supporting the advancement of only environmentally friendly economic development in Logansport and Cass County.”
The resolution refers to WSP specifically, and in conclusion states, “The Common Council of the City of Logansport cannot support the WSP heavy industry project currently being considered for our county agri-business park.”
Logansport’s Mayor Chris Martin also has previously spoken out against WSP locating in the county.
Work on the resolution began July 6 after Logansport residents, Cass County residents and members of the Cass County Citizens Coalition attended the City Council meeting and asked the council to take a stand against WSP.
The City Council members voted for the resolution without meeting with WSP representatives or requesting information, a spokesman for WSP stated in an email Tuesday.
The resolution also notes that Logansport represents nearly half the county’s residents and lists the city’s moves to make itself more ecologically friendly, from shutting down the coal power plant to working to install a solar panel field on the city’s west side.
However, the resolution can’t directly affect the WSP plant because the plant is being built in an unincorporated part of Cass County and not in the city’s boundaries and jurisdiction.
The Cass County Commissioners and council are the ones responsible for any governmental matters concerning WSP and the Agribusiness Park, including zoning and financial incentives.
Some council members wanted the resolution to have a stronger stance and a call for action.
At-Large Councilman Jonathan Nelms asked to amend the resolution to include a statement that Logansport rejects the WSP plant and asks Cass County to also reject it.
Many of the other council members said that it isn’t the city’s place to tell the county what to do.
Council President Dave Morris [Ward 1] said if the people against WSP feel the resolution isn’t strong enough, they should consider that the state and the country pay attention to these type of issues.
They don’t want to deter other kinds of businesses from coming to Logansport and Cass County.
“It’s important the way we present ourselves and how we present the facts,” he said.
Only Nelms, Jake LeDonne [At-Large] and Scott Peattie [Ward 4] voted for the amendment.
The council members did voice some concerns, though.
Carl McPherson [Ward 5] had three questions after the vote.
He wanted to know how construction on the plant has started even though the Indiana Department of Environmental Management air permit hasn’t been issued and the county council’s vote for a Tax Increment Financing bond for $23 million hasn’t happened.
He also said he didn’t understand why heavy industry can come into an agricultural business park.
And he wondered how much Cass County is spending to retain the Indianapolis law firm of Ice Miller for lawsuits and other matters involving WSP, which he estimated could run into millions of dollars.
Also at the meeting, Malcolm Jarrell told the council members that the Cass County Citizens Coalition is holding an informational public forum about the WSP plant from 6-8:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 21, at the McHale Performing Arts Center, 1 Berry Lane, near Logansport Community High School and Century Career Center.
The coalition has invited WSP to participate.