Submitted by Bryan Claycomb
As I read last week’s paper, I couldn’t help but reflect on the front page of the April 20, 1950, edition of The Meade County Messenger: “Mathieson Corp. Announces Plans for $17 million Chemical Plant Here.” I can only wonder what might have been the community reaction to this news. Perhaps, they varied from enthusiasm and excitement to a certain amount of stress and anxiety over what would be a major change for our small community. Mathieson Chemical brought good paying jobs to our community and helped shape it in a very positive way. Three generations have had an opportunity to work at the chemical plant. These good-paying jobs have helped pay for homes, raise families, educate children, support local business, and even help pay for farms. We have a wonderful community and first class school system. In no small part, we are standing on the foundation and investment Mathieson Chemical made many years ago in our community. Meade County has been my home since our family moved here in 1963. For the past 40 plus years, I heard repeatedly about the need for more good jobs, here at home. Good jobs to help provide an alternative to leaving our county to earn a living. Good jobs that will help give our young people an opportunity to stay at home. I believe Nucor’s $1.35 billion dollar investment will shape and change our community in a positive way, just as Mathieson’s did nearly 70 years ago. There are, and will continue to be, challenges and problems to deal with in the aftermath of this major economic development. Securing a replacement for Consolidated Grain and Barge is such a challenge. At the end of the day, I am optimistic about our ability and willingness of our community and its leadership to work through this and other challenges. I am equally confident in Nucor’s willingness and desire to be a good corporate citizen. It is time to work together for the betterment of our community. Future generations deserve no less.