MichiganRailroads.com - Lower Peninsula Railroads
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Re: Velsicol Rail Activity
Posted by pbmaxno15 on 6/27/2017, 9:18 pm, in reply to "Re: Velsicol Rail Activity"
My hometown! I have lots of good memories associated with the railroad and lots of bad memories associated with the Michigan Chemical/Velsicol plant. My babysitter lived next to the tracks about a block from the depot. We would run to the edge of the yard to wave at the passing train crews. The plant has left many scars of many kinds on the community. The effects on the health of the community and its residents have been enormous. The economic effects have been devastating. The physical scars of the plant site and the ancillary properties such as the landfill, the golf course, and the clay pit will remain for decades. I grew up about 10 blocks to the east of the plant. I played along the river and caught many fish, all of which had to be released due to the high levels of contamination. I remember the constant parade of trucks rumbling by my elementary school as they hauled clay from the pit to the plant site. I remember years of cofferdams, dry river beds, and equipment stripping sediment from the Pine River. Recently, the neighborhood surrounding the plant had topsoil stripped and replaced do to soil contaminating worms, which were then contaminating robins and causing them to die. My grandmother, parents, and sister still live in St. Louis. Many of my friends and their families live in the community. I visit frequently and talk to those still living in the area. The Michigan Department of Corrections has replaced more than the 300+ jobs that were lost, but the economic pain and health issues still haunt the town. This money may start the process of returning the property to a usable state, but the legacy will remain. I hope to see this site cleaned up by the the time I pass on. I won't hold my breath.
HESR and MMRR enthusiast.
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