Trucking company development draws criticism

The Port Huron City Council heard an update from the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County on Sept. 10.

Dan Casey, executive director of the alliance, gave a presentation to the council on the group’s progress in 2012. While Casey had some positive news to deliver, one project that the EDA has had a hand in drew criticism from area residents and a council member.

During the presentation, Casey referred to the development of a company called Stafford Trucking and their selection of a piece of property located in a residential neighborhood in Port Huron Township. According to Casey, the business would operate semi trucks used to haul garbage and the trucks would be cleaned and stored at the location.

Councilmember Alan Lewandowski was adamant in his displeasure with the council as he asked Casey a series of questions about the business development.

Did you ever once try to talk them out of putting 175 garbage trucks in a residential neighborhood?” Lewandowski said.

Lewandowski pressed Casey on other aspects of the project, including whose trash would be hauled inside these trucks. Casey told the council that a majority of the trash would be Canadian.

City resident Sharon Bender also spoke out against the project during the public audience segment of the meeting, stating she felt the public should have been notified about such a company moving into a residential neighborhood.

“I am very concerned about the environmental impact of the cleaning process of the trucks and this issue should have been made public so people could comment on it,” Bender said. “Out of courtesy, the township should have notified the city and the people that it affects. I am appalled at this situation.”

Casey also discussed other aspects of the EDA’s focus, like business retention and attraction. According to Casey, the EDA currently has 15 active prospects in attracting business and if all 15 of those prospects became commitments, it would lead to the potential creation of approximately 1,252 jobs and over $736 million in potential investment to the city. Dealing with business retention, the EDA has met with 79 St. Clair County businesses this year, with 24 of those businesses located within the city of Port Huron. Casey said the group’s goal is to meet with 120 businesses by the end of December. The EDA has also assisted 49 small-business clients this year with the creation of one entrepreneurial job.

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