The people in Killeen’s City Council District 1 are up in arms, according to Councilwoman Shirley Fleming.
Fleming represents the district where the MGC Pure Chemicals America plant will be built in the Killeen Business Park, and she is being peppered with questions and concerns.
Unfortunately, she doesn’t have all of the answers.
That is why Fleming and fellow Killeen Councilman Steve Harris have arranged to hold a public forum Sept. 28, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Killeen Community Center, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd.
“The whole community wants answers,” Fleming said. Questions have included which chemicals will be used, whether any are hazardous, whether there are daily emissions and whether local schools and residents would have any negative effects.
The plant will produce super-pure hydrogen peroxide, a cleaning chemical used in the semiconductor industry for applications that require stripping, etching and cleaning silicon wafers, according to previous reports in the Killeen Daily Herald.
Frustrating for Fleming — and many in the district — was how the plans for the chemical plant were handled.
“I can’t see the secrecy,” Fleming said. “I don’t like that.”
In order to land the company, the Killeen Economic Development Corporation negotiated a deal to reimburse some infrastructure costs at the plant, including the possible addition of a rail spur; reimbursement of tap fees, and platting and building permit fees; payment of closing costs and subdividing costs; and reimbursement of 50 percent of the plant’s property tax payments.
Teachers and parents have been contacting Fleming. There are numerous schools and day care centers in the vicinity of the MGC construction site.
“They’re concerned for the children,” Fleming said.
Killeen High School and Leo Buckley Stadium are about a mile away from the business park. Some homes are closer.
At the Killeen Independent School District offices, no concerns have been voiced to the administration, according to Terry Abbott, chief communications officer.
Fleming said she has been working with Phyllis Gogue, vice president of the Killeen Economic Development Corporation, since the announcement about the chemical plant’s construction was made in early August.
Gogue is slated to present a video about MGC Pure Chemicals America at the forum.
Killeen Mayor Jose L. Segarra will be in attendance, as well, according to Fleming. John Crutchfield, president of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, is also planning to be present.
Crutchfield said Wednesday he has heard no complaints or concerns about the chemical plant.
Fleming has extended an invitation to representatives of MGC Pure Chemicals America at the company’s headquarters in Mesa, Arizona. She has not yet heard if anyone from the plant will be in attendance.
The Herald also called the company on Wednesday, but officials did not respond to whether or not they would be coming to the forum.
For the city and EDC officials who will be at the forum, Fleming expects a lot of questions.
“Bringing in business is good,” she said. Yet, “The lack of transparency, the lack of knowledge about the safety and quality of life,” is problematic.
Of those officials, Fleming said, “They signed the contract, they approved it.” If they aren’t able to answer the community’s questions, “It’ll make them look pretty bad.”
The forum is open to the public.