Will Crystal Lake’s Loss Be Boone County’s Gain?

Crystal Lake’s Jim Athans started his company Chemtool in Crystal Lake, built a modern campus facility on Ridgefield Road and expanded it.

Now, business is growing so rapidly (revenue up 40% last year); he needs more space.

He looked west of Marengo and just across the Boone County line in Garden Prairie, plus Wisconsin.

It appears that the Boone County Board is closing in on a the biggest industrial development project since it landed Chrysler in the early 1960’s.

The Rockford Register-Star reported Friday that the company is nine votes away from approval at its new location.

But, those votes may not come easy. Nine votes represent a two-thirds’ majority of the Boone County Board. Five seem to be already committee, having voted for the project in the county board’s Planning, Zoning and Building Committee, where the vote was unanimous.

The extraordinary majority is required because of objections from neighboring property owners, one a you-pick berry business on U.S. 20.

Reporter Kevin Hass quotes Susie Silberhorn as follows:

It’s the perception. Who’s going to want to buy vegetables if there is a chemical plant next door?” Susie Silberhorn said.

The site is across from Kishwaukee Elementary School and near the Kishwaukee River.

School folks fear for the safety of their children with the trucks entering and leaving the site and local residents and the Soil and Water Conservation District are concerned about potential pollution of the aquifer.

As I wrote earlier, my father had similar concerns when Chemtool applied for its permit to build on the sensitive Crystal Lake watershed.

But, there have been no water pollution complaints about Chemtool since it moved to Ridgefield road.

I find it more than a little strange that local officials are not fighting to keep Chemtool in McHenry County.

The article says Freeport and St. Louis also would like to have Chemtool.

The Boone County Board will vote Wednesday.

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The picture is of Chemtool’s headquarters and manufacturing plant on Ridgefield Road in Crystal Lake.

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