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Court hearing underway for potential Gadsden rendering plant

Published: May. 25, 2021 at 12:12 PM CDT
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GADSDEN, Ala. (WBRC) - Hearings continued on Monday about a rendering plant coming to Gadsden. The case brought by Dynamic Collision against the City of Gadsden and the Gadsden Airport Authority, deliberated for a full day on Monday. Community members joined Dynamic Collision arguing against the Pilgrim’s Pride rendering plant moving to the airport, arguing that it violate zoning.

Witnesses and attorneys argued in court on the routes the plant would take throughout Etowah County and possible issues with spills on roadways during the transporting of various animal parts.

Citizens filled both sides of the courtroom. Several wearing “Stop The Rendering Plant” pins. Attorney Christie Knowles says people want to feel included on what businesses come to Gadsden. Residents have expressed that they feel leadership in the city hasn’t been up front about the plans to bring the rendering plant.

“That’s just not how government should work. Not with something like this,” says Attorney Knowles. “Now if there’s trade secrets or preliminary things where you’re competitive advantage, cities have to preserve that in order to recruit in an effective way. We’re not suggesting that we hamstring our IDA and not allow us to be competitive and provide confidentiality for preliminary type things. It’s certainly not in the best interest of the public that the government is able to recruit an industry and sell land and give millions to a rendering plant with the public potentially not knowing.”

We received this statement from Pilgrim’s Pride head of Corporate Affairs: “Pilgrim’s intends to continue working with local leaders to bring this state-of-the-art economic development project to Gadsden and will meet or exceed all necessary zoning and permitting requirements.”

Testimony will resume at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. Judge George Day says the hearing could be pushed up to 9 a.m. if a morning hearing gets canceled.

A decision will be made on Thursday.

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