MANTENO, IL – Tensions soared at the Village Hall last Monday as residents gathered in droves, reacting vehemently to the recent announcement of the Goshen Battery Plant’s arrival in Manteno.
Mayor Tim Nugent commenced the event with a five-minute statement defending the democratic nature of the plant’s approval process. However, this did little to placate the agitated crowd.
“To address concerns about this company being China, I can advise the company has been cleared by the United States State’s Department to conduct business in the United States, and has been operating in other states for a few years already,” Mayor Nugent read in the prepared remarks.
Over the course of the next 25 minutes, numerous residents voiced a myriad of concerns, ranging from environmental hazards and potential pollution to political disputes and demographic concerns. The intensity of the reaction was palpable, with some going as far as to declare their intentions to relocate away from Manteno in protest.
Below you’ll find just a handful of what residents said during Monday’s town hall, or watch the full session on YouTube:
“I’m a nurse a lot of concerns about these toxic chemicals that are gonna be brought to make these batteries for the people that work there are community leaking into the water. Do you think they’re gonna tell us if they have an accident or a spill” – Diane Cinnamon of Manteno
“I feel like you have sold us out.” — Diane Baker, formerly of Manteno, now a resident of Bourbonnais.
“I’m a mother, grandmother, I have a wonderful husband, he’s 91. We’ve had a beautiful life here and I expect that it’s not gonna be beautiful anymore if this goes through.” – Francine Fatima of Manteno
“I’ve only lived here two years, I have seven kids, they go to Manteno schools, and I will be moving out of this town.” – U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Ryan McCaffrey
“Why was it kept so secret. You can tell us we need a battery plant, but you don’t know. Look at the people here tonight. You didn’t want the ice cream truck in town because it was a safety hazard to our children, yet you don’t have a problem with the battery plant,” said Robert Forsythe of Manteno. “Give me a break.“
“I have two beautiful little girls I want to go to school in Manteno and a decision like this makes me not want to buy a house in this town.” – Ron Van Dyke