04/14/04 — Murphy Brown will not build rendering plant

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Murphy Brown will not build rendering plant

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on April 14, 2004 1:58 PM

A Murphy Brown Co. official says he hopes a letter to the county manager will put to rest a rumor about a rendering plant coming to Bowden Crossroads.

Signs saying "No Rendering Plant!" have popped up throughout the northwestern quadrant of the county, especially around the Bowden Crossroad community off U.S. 117 between Faison and Warsaw. The neighbors there are worried.

They say they have seen surveyor flags at the abandoned hardwood plant and saw mill owned by Georgia Pacific, and they've been told a rendering plant is coming. A rendering plant processes the entrails of hogs and poultry by cooking and grinding them to get the fat out. It's then put into the feed for other hogs and poultry.

Don Butler of Murphy Brown said he's drafting a letter denying the rumor that the company is interested in the abandoned plant. He said he hopes to mail it in the next couple of days.

County Manager Fred Eldridge said all he has heard about the rumor is from people asking him if there's any truth to it.

"No one has talked to me specifically," he said. Even economic development officials say they don't know anything about it. "If anyone knows, they're not talking," Eldridge said.

When the letter arrives, Eldridge said, he will present it to the county commissioners, who will meet at 9 a.m. Monday.

County Economic Develop-ment Developer Woody Brinson said the old plant has a lot of environmental issues. It is contaminated, he said, and it would have to be cleaned before it's sold.

"I don't know that it will ever be sold," he added. "Everybody runs from it when you talk about their environmental issues."

But last week, a neighbor saw trucks hauling out dirt.

One of the neighbors is Sprunt Hall, who volunteers for the Faison Fire and Rescue department. "I have two signs in my yard," said Hall. "You do not want a gut plant at your front door."

It's not just the smell, he added. Trucks haul animals that have died of all causes. He said he's concerned they could bring disease to the community.

He said the old Georgia Pacific plant property is at the back door of Bowden Presbyterian Community Church.

"There are other places that are not in the middle of a community," he said. "I'd love to hear, 'No, Bowden is not being considered as a site.' But I'd rather put the signs out and not need for them to be there."