Xerxes Closes

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"Xerxes gives up fight, will close smelly plant

AVON - Xerxes Corp. plans to close its manufacturing plant, ending a two-year battle with residents in Avon and North Ridgeville who objected to foul odors coming from the facility.

Xerxes said the plant, which employs 66 people, will probably be closed sometime in the first half of April [2001] and all the jobs will be eliminated. The plant has 40 hourly workers and 22 who are salaried.

The plant, on Mills Rd., makes underground storage tanks from styrene, a volatile chemical compound that has caused odors around the plant. The plant drew opposition from some nearby Avon residents and some people who live in North Ridgeville, which borders the plant site. It also was cited as an odor nuisance by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Officials of Xerxes were not available yesterday to comment on the closing. But in a government filing announcing plans to close the plant, the company said it would be too costly to install an incinerator or other emission-control devices at the plant. It also cited the Ohio EPA s action against the company ...

The battle over the odors began in late 1998, when a group of residents tried to reverse a state decision to approve an expansion at the plant. Avon and North Ridgeville and a developer that was building houses and a golf course near the site also had made a similar complaint ...

"I m sorry to see the plant close," said Gail Minnick, Ward 4 councilwoman in North Ridgeville who also objected to the odors from the plant. "But I think it s a health hazard."

Minnick said that when the wind was blowing in a certain direction she could smell the odors at home even though she lives a couple of miles away."

E-mail: tgerdel@plaind.com

NEWS ARTICLE from THE PRESS, 2-7-01, By Mike Ferrari

"Xerxes closing doors, leaving city after a half-century

Avon Mayor Jim Smith released information that he received a letter from Xerxes headquarters in Minnesota, indicating that their Avon based plant will close their doors and leave the city.

Xerxes is located on Mills Road in Avon, ... the company will be leaving the city between April 2 and 16.

The company has been in Avon since the early 1950s and has been a strong, consistent source of employment for numerous residents in Lorain County. The closing means that over 60 people will lose their jobs as a result of the decision.

The 77,000 square-foot facility sits on a 13-acre parcel of land. Both the parcel of land and the facility are owned by the Minneapolis-based company. Xerxes manufactures underground storage tanks used by gas stations for fuel storage.

Smith said the letter was very concise and did not include details about the future of the land or building the company will be leaving behind in Avon ...

``We are sorry to see the plant closing,'' Smith said. ``I know a lot of people that work there and will be losing their jobs ...''

According to Pennie Shapiro, spokeswoman for Xerxes, the empty building and land will be sold or leased.

Shapiro also issued a statement about the Avon plant closing. The closure was prompted by an appeal of Xerxes' 1998 air permit and actions by the regulatory agency which demanded that Xerxes reduce its production to the point where the plant would no longer be viable, Shapiro said."

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