TREMONTON, Box Elder County — Leaders in small Tremonton are saying no to a pig-processing plant moving into a vacant La-Z-Boy facility, even though the town is in desperate need of jobs and an economic boost.
The facility has been vacant since 2008, when La-Z-Boy left the city, taking 630 jobs away with it. In the years following 2008, thousands of other jobs in the area have been cut: nearly 2,200 cut by ATK and another 250 when Autoliv made cutbacks, among others.
"Tremonton City itself has been hit hard. It's a tough environment out there," said Mitch Zundel, director of the Box Elder County Economic Development.
According to the Box Elder Economic Development Alliance website, the average pay at the pig-processing plant would be $35,000 and put $7 million into the local economy. The company has an additional support industry of 500 to 1,000 new jobs with an estimated economic impact of $190 million.
Backed by some of Tremonton's residents, city leaders are opposing the plant. Many were concerned about the smell the plant would bring.
I think we hurt our economy. I think Tremonton kind of shot itself in the foot. And that's a shame.
–John Kitch, Bear River Valley Chamber of Commerce
John Kitch, of the Bear River Valley Chamber of Commerce, said he is disappointed with the decision.
"I think we hurt our economy," Kitch said. "I think Tremonton kind of shot itself in the foot. And that's a shame."
He thinks the pig-processing plant moving into the old La-Z-Boy building would have been a huge success for the area and given people the opportunity to work.
But it's not all doom and gloom. Tom Greer, of Greer's Hardware, said he has noticed an increase in business, along with other shop owners. He feels these types of ups and downs go in cycles and take time.
"Tremonton is not closing, and if we don't get this pig-processing plant, it's not the end of the world for the city," Greer said.
No one knows what the answer is for Tremonton. But most people agree that more good paying jobs are really needed.