ENM council approves industrial park 4-1

By: 
Patrick Fisher, pfisher@newpraguetimes.com

The Elko New Market City Council at its Thursday, June 27, meeting approved the Interstate 35 Industrial Park by a 4-1 vote. Casting the only no vote was Councilor Gina Styles who felt the industrial park was not the right fit for the city.

Many residents of Elko New Market, New Market Township and surrounding communities have voiced opposition to the project and its sole tenant, so far Niagara Bottling, which plans to build a 425,000-square-foot facility on the site that will draw water from the Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer. According to the California-based business, the water will be bottled on site and sold in Minnesota. In past council meetings, residents have listed concernes about the amount of water the company will be using for its plant and how that will affect the aquifer. Other concerns have been about the possible increase in traffic because of the industrial park.

On Wednesday, June 12, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) approved the city’s request to amend the city’s water appropriation permit to allow the Elko New Market to withdraw of up to 365 million gallons of water annually, an amount that includes residential and commercial use as the city grows.

During the council’s public comment period June 27, resident Larry Schofield said his home is across from the industrial park. Water trucks had been spraying the area to keep dust down, but the spraying of water had decreased. He said when there were 40 trucks working at the site, the dust would fly. He asked the city to monitor it. “They will get by with what you allow them to,” he said about the contractor working at the site.

Resident Kristy Thompson had concerns about grading and the hours allowed for the work. She asked if there had been a request for a possible start time of work on the site for 5 a.m.

To see more on this story pick up the July 4, 2024 print edition of The New Prague Times. 

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