Tensions high in Tonganoxie over Tyson plant

(AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

TONGANOXIE, Kan. (KSHB) – Residents in the town of Tonganoxie, in Leavenworth County, showed-up in force for a public forum about a proposed Tyson Foods plant near their city.

Thousands of  Leavenworth County residents showed-up in Chieftain Park, ready to voice their concerns.

Tyson Foods Inc. plans to spend $320 million on a processing facility near Tonganoxie and that has many residents upset.

“It’s going to be a dramatic change if it happens, I mean it’s kind of a shock factor for the city of Tonganoxie, it’s kind of a shock factor for our community,” said Curtis Oroke, Tonganoxie City Councilman.

Councilman Oroke said residents haven’t been shy about sharing their opinions on the matter.

“I’ve had death threats, I’ve had probably 700-800 messages on my phone, and I’ve had Facebook messages,” said Oroke.

Oroke said he believes things have gotten out of hand, because so many questions have gone unanswered.

“These people want answers and I can’t provide them if I don’t have them.”

The $320 million dollar plant is expected to bring 1,600 jobs to a town of nearly 5,000.

While creating jobs may sound positive, residents said their biggest concern is the environmental problems the plant will bring.

“Pollution is probably my number one concern since they’re the number one polluter and we’re so close to the plant,” said Diana Buck, Leavenworth County Resident.

Buck recently  moved her family to Leavenworth County, to get away from several meat packing plants in Western Kansas.

“We were so excited to come back here and be in the county and have everything clean and fresh and green,” she said.

 

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