Proposed asphalt plant in Anderson nixed after backlash from residents

ANDERSON, Ind. — Residents who have been fighting back against a proposed roofing materials factory won a major victory on Monday evening after the city’s mayor sent a letter to the community announcing he was putting a stop to the project.

“Based on my review and briefings of all information to date, it is clear that both the city and Malarkey recognize that another location would be preferable,” Mayor Thomas Broderick wrote in that letter.

That move came after public backlash against the facility over environmental and health concerns, among other things.

“Sugar Fork Creek also runs right along the property and it flows into Fall Creek and also flows into Geist Reservoir so there were a lot of implications for that,” said activist Marlene Carey.

The Malarkey Roofing Company was planning to build a massive factory, producing shingles on more than 100 acres of farmland just south of I-69.

“The land has been in my family for about 175 years,” said Amy Gustin-Bruner, who lives right next to the development site. “I couldn’t stand to see something negative happen and not have a voice in it.”

Gustin-Bruner and others raised concerns about the factory’s environmental impacts on nearby water sources and forested areas.

Government documents show the company’s Oregon facility was fined millions of dollars for violations of environmental regulations.

“That area has just been unspoiled for a long time and we didn’t want to see that lost in my generation,” Gustin-Bruner said.

While the project may be dead, residents said they will remain vigilant in case another project fills its spot.

“I think it’s a really good example of what can happen when a group of people put together a lot of facts and provides information and you have people that are in government that listen,” Carey said.

We reached out to the Malarkey Roofing Company for comment about the development and the concerns of the residents. However, we did not hear back.

You can read Mayor Broderick’s full statement here:

First, thank you all for your efforts to take all steps necessary to properly review and study the appropriateness of a potential new company for our community. Thanks to the Malarkey team for considering our community for your newest expansion. As everyone knows the location of this plant, on primarily what would become a newly annexed area into our city, has come under a substantial amount of scrutiny by many of our neighbors located in the areas close to the proposed site. I have received more email and communication regarding this matter than any prior potential project. For the most part, the emails and inquiries were fair in their questions and concerns. The Malarkey team have made themselves available for answers and they made their Oklahoma plant available for inspection and review. I appreciate the reports back from our city council members ,who took the time to go to Oklahoma to see this plant for themselves, and from the County/City economic team who also visited this site. There is no question that all involved have put forth their best efforts in reviewing all aspects of this project with an eye toward making the best decision for the overall good of our community at large, including those nearby the proposed site.

We in the City of Anderson are always looking for positive opportunities for our community that will provide for new, good paying jobs, growth, and an expansion of our taxbase, which aids in holding down of taxes for everyone. One the other hand we are always concerned about whether a particular project will have an overall positive or negative impact on our community for the long run. Not every business enterprise, regardless of its positive attributes, is a good fit for every city.  It is not always easy, at the beginning of a proposed project, for either the companies or communities involved to be certain without significant vetting and review, as to whether a company will be a good fit. Because of the need to annex in this case, that process got in front of the ongoing selection process.  Based on my review and briefings of all information to date, it is clear that both the city and Malarkey recognize that another location would be preferable. The company has advised that they are still considering an alternative site, outside of our county, as a potentially preferred site. I concur with that position and would ask that appropriate steps be taken to end the unnecessary speculations about the location of this plant at the proposed site in our community.

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