TOWN OF UNION - A proposed sand mine promises to bring money and jobs into Waupaca County, but it's not a proposal that has everyone's blessing.
The Waupaca County Planning and Zoning Committee has the final say about A.F. Gelhar's sand mine proposal. The mine would go on 160 acres of land in the Town of Union.
About 200 people went to a committee hearing Thursday to hear arguments for and against it.
"What issues they have and how they might be addressed if the committee were to approve the conditional use permit," said Planning and Zoning director Ryan Brown.
The mine is expected to create 34 jobs and bring nearly $5 million into the county yearly.
David Thiel with the county economic development corporation says the mine is the right move.
"More importantly, it's really about securing the sand supply for Waupaca County long term," said Thiel.
Thiel told FOX 11 the Waupaca Foundry needs sand to operate. He said the foundry accounts for about 10 percent of the county's economy.
But those against the mine say it could threaten local businesses and the environment. Kelly Ramstack is worried about the air, water and wildlife.
"The waste water might have chemicals or the silt that's picked up could get into the river," said Ramstack
But A.F. Gelhar told us only 20 acres will be in use at a time over the 75-year life of the mine.
"There really will be no environmental impact. Will there be some noise? Yeah, but nothing more than a typical dairy farm," said the Steve Sorenson, the company's corporate council.
The company says it will not harm the environment, but Ramstack told us part of Waupaca County's charm is the open farm and state lands. She'd like it kept that way.
"Once you change something in an environment that's as pristine as that state natural area, you can't get it back," said Ramstack.
Driving through town, you see signs both for and against. Only time will tell which side wins out.
The Planning and Zoning Committee did not make a decision on the permit Thursday. The committee has not yet set a date for a vote.
Those against the mine have hired a lawyer to plead their case.
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