According to page 58 of the North Branch City Council agenda for July 14, 2014--posted online at the city's website in pdf form here(see screenshot above)--Superior Silica Sands LLC informed the city on Wednesday that the frac sand mining and processing corporation intends to "move forward with their facility in in North Branch."
While the mayor of North Branch has remained hot for this project, other public officials in the area are not as certain about the fit for their communities, the East Central Minnesota Post Review reports in Commissioners raise concern about pursuit of silica sand project:
The North Branch mayor’s announcement last month that the city would continue to try to persuade Superior Silica Sand to build a trans-loading station in the city’s ESSBY Business Park led to county commissioners weighing in on the issue at the Chisago County Board meeting July 2.
Commissioner Lora Walker asked Nancy Hoffman, County HRA and EDA director, to give the board an update about any correspondence the Economic Development Authority had with Superior Silica Sand during the past few weeks.
She said there wasn’t much movement on that front, but she is aware that North Branch is still looking to bring the business to the city.
County Administrator Bruce Messelt said he wanted to make it clear that the county has been fielding questions about the potential business, but it has not taken a stance on the issue.
“We are resisting taking a lead in this project,” he said. “This is not our project. But we are asking that we be invited to meetings. As of this time, the ball is in the city of North Branch’s hands.”
He added: “To say that we are helping is not accurate. To say that we are opposing or supporting is not accurate. We are responding to requests for information, and we are asking to be a part of those conversations.”
Even though the county hasn’t taken an official position on the possible trans-loading station, commissioners expressed their concerns about the impact it could have countywide.
“I think there’s an inherent danger in having so many vehicles driving through your community,” Commissioner Ben Montzka said.
Montzka added that although the city of North Branch’s tax base could benefit from the business, other areas the trucks would drive through wouldn’t be seeing any of that positive tax impact. . . .
The article does not mention the July 14 agenda and July 9 notice from the company. Read the entriely article at the ECM Post Review.
Other area leaders have not been as reserved in speaking out about the project. Last week, the Chisago County Press reported in Legislative business forum takes Town Hall twist:
There was a question on the proposed frac sand trans-loading facility in North Branch. Rep. Barrett said it is a local decision; but there is no way he’d support hundreds of trucks negatively impacting the small town of Taylors Falls, hauling sand between North Branch and mines in Wisconsin. Barrett added, he does support “economic development” and has yet to see the actual sand plant project proposal.
Barrett's assertion is about to be tested. Bluestem will have more as this story unfolds.
Screenshot: From the North Branch City Council agenda for July 14, 2014.
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