Communities in and around Putnam County will soon see more jobs with good wages and see a boost to their local economy, thanks to IPS Steel out of Michigan purchasing the old Hennepin Steel Mill. Action on the site is already taking place. This week, there is an on-line public auction for old spare parts, excess tools, etc. That will allow for clean-up and demolition of buildings that have been determined to be inefficient to begin next month.
“It took a lot of work from a number of people to get this site sold and begin the revitalization, and that’s a big reason why it’s so rewarding,” State Senator Sue Rezin said. “The Hennepin Steel Mill was a huge asset for this area before it closed. Now, Hennepin and the communities around this region can look forward to this site becoming an economic and jobs engine again.”
Cement pads and other valuable infrastructure will remain at the site, including a power station, barge dock, and extensive rail track. Norfolk Southern determined the track in and around the site is in good condition, despite having been not used for years, which should help revitalization at the site move quicker.
“Some of the buildings are no longer cost efficient to heat or cool as well as maintain,” said Kishan Sutariya, Project Manager for IPS Steel. “We are going to remove those and leave all the cement pad so we can build more efficient buildings back on top. Our vision for this site is to have multiple businesses sharing all the resources that it has to offer.”
“The rail track condition is great news for any current tenant or future manufacturer, transload, or warehouse storage company who is interested in the site. We are looking forward to the completion of clean up and ready for phase two,” Marci Duro, the Executive Director and CEO Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development said. “This multi-use industrial complex is a fantastic site and investors are excited about its future.”
Duro also says IPS Steel has inquired about purchasing a used locomotive to move train cars to the loading dock and inquired about the cost of adding a rail that goes to the river dock location.
“I am thankful IPS Steel also realized the value in the two remaining employees from ArcelorMittal, as they were hired by IPS Steel and have been great resources to make the site valuable again,” Duro said.
“From the closure of the Hennepin Steel Mill to today, Marci Duro has been instrumental in getting IPS Steel to Putnam County,” Rezin said. “In 2010, she immediately realized the remarkable facility Hennepin offered and began actively marketing it. She has worked tirelessly with my office and other local officials to recruit IPS Steel to Putnam County. I am thankful for her hard work and look forward to what the site will become.”
The old Hennepin Steel Mill site offers several assets to a future manufacturer, transload, or warehouse storage company. Three interstates are close by (I-80, I-39, I-180), there is immediate rail access, immediate river access, dual feed electricity, natural gas is accessible on site, local community colleges with industrial programs, and a quality workforce.
“Any future investor or company would be lucky to find three of these assets in one location,” Rezin said. “What I am most proud of is our local workforce. Our people in and around Hennepin work hard, are incredibly knowledgeable, and are very excited about making the old steel site a huge asset to the area again.”