City of West discusses possibility of new fertilizer plant - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

WEST

City of West discusses possibility of new fertilizer plant

WEST, TX (KXXV) - Less than a year after 15 people lost their lives in the West Fertilizer Company Explosion the city is now in talks over possibly building a new fertilizer facility in West.

Developers and city leaders say new industry is necessary for the city to thrive. Since the fertilizer plant exploded on April 17th, the city has lost a key business in the area. Now they are looking to replace it.

Some other options are being discussed, such as utilizing the town's location off Interstate 35 and the city's Czech rich heritage, but the hot topic around town has been the idea of building a new fertilizer plant.

"We also visited about what we had and we did have a fertilizer plant. We are an agricultural community and it is a necessary industry for the area farmers," West Mayor Tommy Muska said.

"I want that we are very very sensitive to what has happened to the citizens of West, but I also want to make sure we are discussing the thing that needs to be talked about and discussing the things that will help the city ultimately move forward," Herman Howard, Director of Planning and Urban Design for KAI Design Build, said.

Mayor Muska says if a new fertilizer plant is built in the future it will be placed in a different location, and not near the West ISD schools or the new homes that were recently rebuilt. Zoning requirements will also have to change to keep development and people away from the new facility.

The mayor promises that if a new plant is built, it will be state-of-the-art and meet all the necessary safety codes, including having a proper sprinkler system so that an explosion like the one last April will never happen again.

The idea of a new plant hasn't been a popular opinion with some people. One woman, who emailed News Channel 25, said the discussion is going to upset people trying to cope and that no one is ready to talk about. On our Facebook page the discussion has had mixed views as well, but Mayor Muska says the discussion needs to happen now.

"I think now is the time to bring it up. I think a year has gone by," Muska said. "I would not have brought it up months after the explosion but you know I think now is the time to at least start putting it out there, start talking about it in the coffee shops. Start having people thinking about it."

Muska says he is happy people are talking about the possibility of the plant, but he understands the concerns of the community. His concern right now though is getting businesses in West booming again.

"We have farmers that are going to Hillsboro and to Corsicana for their fertilizer. But when they go to Hillsboro and Corsicana, they are going to the hardware store in Hillsboro and Corsicana, and they are going to eat in Hillsboro and Corsicana. But no offense to those towns but I want them to come here," Muska said. "We want the farmers to come here, go to the fertilizer plant, then come back into town, eat, go to the bank, go to the hardware store and then go back home."

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