Intermet begins plant demolition

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 2, 2000

Crews began tearing down one of the city’s last industrial friends this week – the Intermet-Ironton Iron foundry.

Saturday, September 02, 2000

Crews began tearing down one of the city’s last industrial friends this week – the Intermet-Ironton Iron foundry.

Email newsletter signup

"They began the demolition of the first building on Wednesday and at the rate they’re going, it looks like they’re going to be right on schedule," Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary said.

The demolition crew has estimated the project will continue for six months, Cleary said.

Emotions likely will run high among officials and former employees watching the work, he said.

"It’s like saying goodbye to an old friend," Cleary said. "But, we’ve got to look ahead to the future."

Although the foundry’s demolition looks bad today, it should turn out to be a good thing in the future, considering the industrial space opened up, the mayor said.

Union workers said they knew this day was coming.

"They told us some time back that they were going to do the demolition beginning in September," said Dave Akers, bargaining unit chairman for United Steelworkers of America Local 3664. "Looking back, many families were raised on the wages from that place it’s kind of sad really."

In January, state officials said Intermet had entered into preliminary discussions with potential investors and indicated a willingness to sell the Ironton Iron foundry to a qualified buyer for $1.

Intermet officials announced its offer as one way to help the community deal with the company’s shutdown but stressed that the proposal hinged on finding a buyer that could demonstrate they could operate the plant and would assume any and all liabilities of the plant in "as-is" condition.

A buyer never surfaced, Intermet said this summer when it applied to the city for a demolition permit.

"I don’t really care that much for the company I worked for," Akers said. "I think they did all they could to keep from selling the foundry. Why wouldn’t they have done that? They never were a cooperative company. Intermet is an anti-union company with a southern mentality background and they really never got away from that. As a union, all we wanted was for them to treat the people right."

For the Steelworker, the foundry memories have became part of a scrapbook now.

Akers said many families will have long-lasting relationships with many co-workers and should unite together to look for a brighter future.

"It’s part of our past and now we just have to accept that and look for something else," he said. "In a way, I’m sort-of glad it’s gone. What we did there was never good enough for them no matter how hard we worked. It is sad when you think of all the families that have lost their livelihood there, but you have to be positive. Hopefully something good will come along."