Ford plant closing, and with it an era

  • Article by: CURT BROWN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 4, 2011 - 9:14 AM

Plant was a symbol of the manufacturing might and jobs that have been fading across the nation.

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alanam8Dec. 3, 1111:47 PM

You want to know why St Paul let the plant go? All you need to note is Latimer's quote toward the end of the story, in regard to redeveloping the site: "However wrenching this closure is, it's also a terrific opportunity for a much higher use." Until city officials sincerely look at manufacturing as a "higher use" and not a blight on the city, we're going to continue lossing manufacturing jobs. Yes, yes, old machine shops make nice lofts and art studios, but they also make nice machine shops. Put differently, who do you think will have an easier time getting access and permits to the old Ford site? A developer looking to build riverside lofts aimed at upper-middle and upper class earners, or a manufacturing facility geared toward employing lower-middle and middle-class workers?

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halfabubbleDec. 3, 1111:50 PM

Interesting that Ford complained about the distance from their auto part makers, but yet Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, BMW all have plants in the United States and routinely ship parts in from over seas.

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heroldDec. 3, 1111:50 PM

About 20 years ago when the media exposed the drinking problems of the plant workers no leaders from management or labor stepped up to the plate to combat the issue. A business that was the lifeblood of a community was left for dead. Ford should be thriving in todays' Nascar mentality nationwide.

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cardstaackDec. 3, 1111:53 PM

"Every loyal citizen points with pride to the magnificent edifice you are constructing here - an institution that has enabled Saint Paul to step ahead 10 years in one stride," they wrote. "Here, the laughter of sturdy children romping on the lawns of their comfortable homes will greet your workmen." Cute. Thanks folks for digging in.

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ddellwoDec. 3, 1111:56 PM

I currently own two Rangers built at the Twin Cities assembly plant. While somewhat unexciting, they are well-built, rugged and reliable little trucks! "Thank you" to the workers for making the vehicles that allow me to do my work and keep the wear, tear and miles off my beloved F-150 and Mustang!

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rickradio11Dec. 4, 1112:58 AM

Occupy the Ford Plant! From the sitdown strike by the UAW in Flint, Michigan 1936-37, which galvanized this nation's labor movement with a loud roar which echoed from coast to coast, to the silent closing of the manufacturing plant which has anchored St. Paul's most stable middle-class neighborhood for nearly nine decades, the Midwest is being hollowed out. I work in St. Paul's East Side, which, until the flight of 3M from its East 7th campus, was one of the most stable working class neighborhoods in the Upper Midwest. Hopefully, the well-heeled denizens of Highland Park will now understand that the devastation of the East Side is a harbinger of things to come on Ford Parkway. By the way, when Bob Dylan wrote "Highway 61", there was no Interstate 35E, the main route from north to south in the East Metro, was Arcade Street, or U.S. Highway 61. We are all Detroit! Occupy the Ford Plant!

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stingballDec. 4, 11 3:39 AM

"... the Highland Park neighborhood grew up around the plant -- a surprisingly tranquil co-existence." It's true. I grew up in Highland Park and other than seeing the plant when you drove by on Ford Parkway or River Road, you hardly knew it was there. A world unto itself next to Highland Village and residential neighborhoods.

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stingballDec. 4, 11 3:47 AM

alanam8, while I can appreciate your comment about maintaining manufacturing at the plant site, I also think it provides some excellent housing redevelopment options. Highland Park is still a nice neighborhood, but the housing stock is starting to show its age and needs to be revitalized. The problem is there is no vacant land to build on. The Ford plant site would offer alot of prime real estate next to the river to develop various housing options on. You need some upscale housing to retain and attract people who can significantly contribute to the tax base and make it a viable, prosperous community. You don't want families moving out of Highland Park right when they start to achieve some prosperity because there are not suitable housing options there. They will then be taking their prosperity to Eagan, Lakeville, or Eden Prairie where they can find a more suitable home.

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lothlornDec. 4, 11 6:45 AM

I know I sound like a broken record but its FREE TRADE policies that have caused many of our current problems. From the lack of tax revenues to the lack of money to buy homes and new cars. The lack of money due to Job loss caused the sub prime problem when housing was made the center of our economy. It will continue to get worse unless our "leaders" are forced to fix free trade. The jobs are still going overseas.

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northhillDec. 4, 11 7:18 AM

When it is cheaper to manufacture a pick-up truck in Asia and transport it to California; than to make that same pick-up in St Paul and transport it to California;something is wrong in this nation.That, among others reasons, is why the Ford plant closed.Highland Park will survive quite nicely. Cleveland and Ford Parkway is still a great business area.It will change and stay the same,just as Lake and Hennepin has.

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