04/29/04 — Bowden residents look to incorporation to stop rendering plant

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Bowden residents look to incorporation to stop rendering plant

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on April 29, 2004 2:04 PM

WARSAW -- Residents of Bowden are considering incorporating as a town, because they're afraid Georgia Pacific will sell its old saw mill to Smithfield Foods for a rendering plant.

A Smithfield Foods official has admitted the company is looking for a place to build a rendering plant, according to correspondence from the Duplin County manager, and he has visited the Georgia Pacific site.

Almost 60 people attended a meeting Tuesday at the Bowden Presbyterian Church, where the residents elected officers and named themselves Concerned Citizens of the Bowden Community. It was their third meeting.

They elected Allen Holmes as chairman, Jesse Williams, vice chairman, and Lynn Reaves, secretary and treasurer. Other board members elected were Jack Sauls, whose brother is Jimmy Sauls of the Duplin County Elections Board; Sprunt Hall, who works at Deans Foods in Faison; Elaine Lowe and Bennie Faison.

Holmes said the group will defeat efforts to bring a rendering plant to the community, and Clara James said other issues may arise. They said the group doesn't want to limit itself to the issue of a rendering plant.

Sprunt Hall said he has talked to several people about incorporating, and he learned the local state representative has to request a local bill during the regular session of the General Assembly. He said he won't even consider it during the short session that begins in May.

"You cannot have any opposition from your surrounding towns," said Hall. "I contacted Faison, and Mayor Bill Igoe has no problem with it. That's nothing official."

Bowden used to have a post office, but it doesn't any more.

The residents now have Warsaw addresses.

Incorporation would be at least a year away, but the group was advised that moving in that direction would send a strong message to anybody who might want to bring something offensive to the community.

The group was told it would also help attract desirable business.

Meanwhile, Holmes said the group is going to "love them to death," speaking of the Duplin County commissioners whenever they meet, "so that when that Smithfield crowd comes to talk to them, they'll look over their shoulders and know we mean business."

He said the group members should also let the commissioner of agriculture and officials at the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources know how they feel about a rendering plant coming to their neighborhood.

"They don't want bad publicity, and we can give them bad publicity on and on, every time a truck goes by and has a spill, we can pick up the phone," said Holmes. "We can win, but it could take a long time."

Georgia Pacific has always been a good neighbor to the community, said Jack Sauls, "and we'd like them to continue being a good neighbor by selling to somebody who would be a good neighbor. And a rendering plant is not it."