Commission Chairman Rusty Blackston announced he had been told Project Clover (also known as Beretta Firearms) will not be locating in Thomaston at last week’s Upson County Board of Commissioners’ meeting. The Italian firearms company made a visit to Thomaston and Upson County in August and met with the Thomaston-Upson Industrial Development Authority and Executive Director Kyle Fletcher for an overview of the community and an aerial tour of the county. No specific reason was given as to why the company is not coming to Upson County; Blackston simply stated we did not make the second round of cuts.
Also during the meeting, the board heard from several citizens who are concerned about the odor that comes from the TenCate plant located in the northwestern part of the county. Donald Fowler, who owns property on the Flint River near the plant, spoke first to the commissioners. He noted the EPD is contemplating re-issuing the land application permit for TenCate which allows the company to continue dumping their industrial waste on the land. He stated the quality of life of the nearby residents is being affected because of the horrible smell and fear of water contamination which comes from the company.
“Industry can operate without pollution or being a nuisance to its neighbors,” said Fowler. “Jobs are important. Keeping jobs is important, but so are property rights and public assets such as clean water and fresh air.”
Frank Reagan of Molena presented the board with a petition signed by 40 people to have the EPD deny the permit to TenCate until they have taken steps to get the odor out of the air. He stated when TenCate first came to town, they met with the public and told everyone they would never even know they were there and Reagan noted for the first few years they lived up to that promise. However, the smell in the area has made their presence well known. He also noted that the petitioners did not wish to close the plant at all, they just want the company to operate without the smell, which is something Reagan stated they know how to do.
Chairman Blackston told the gentlemen that he, Commissioner Steve Hudson and County Manager Jim Wheeless were going to meet with Bruce Bagwell of TenCate at the end of last week to discuss the matter. Blackston also stated Mr. Bagwell had told him the company was meeting all the criteria that is required for them from the EPD, but that they wanted to be good stewards and if there is a problem that they can fix, then they will do so.
In other business, the following beer and wine licenses were approved by the board: Kelly’ Korner, 2011 Yatesville Highway; McCarty’s Superette, 398 MLK Drive; Hannah’s Mill Store, 1403 Hannah’s Mill Road; Bickley’s Lake LLC, 189 Rock Hill Road; One Stop Citgo, 2055 Highway 19 North; The Fish Peddler, 1702 Highway 19 North; Northside Package and Lounge (Rabbit Box), 1054 Highway 19 North; Sabrina BP, 1782 Highway 19 North; Flash Foods, 1501 Highway 19 North; Southside Grocery, 5775 Indian Trail Road; Sunoco, 2235 Barnesville Highway; Phoenix Rising Catering, 171 Williams Way; Community Superette, 424 Jeff Davis Road; Wilson’s Market, 6456 Crest Highway; Upson Grocery, 1038 Atwater Road; Cat’s Café, 1074 Highway 80; American Legion Post 532, 1073 Solomon Street; MLK Food Mart, 383 MLK Drive.