Fulton hopes for rebound after Nestle plant demolition


Clouds hang over the former Nestle plant in Fulton days after demolition of the century-old plant began. Photo by: James Walters

When the Nestle production plant closed its doors in Fulton more than a decade ago, it was clear how it would affect the small city’s economy.

Fulton Mayor Robert Woodward was the last person to leave the Nestle plant, aside from the plant manager, when it closed in 2003.  In an interview this week, Woodward reflected on what the chocolate plant’s closing did to the community.

He said people in this city of just under 12-thousand likely know at least one person who worked at the plant. In a New York Times article from the time of the closing—it was estimated that 80 percent of the employees at the plant lived in or around the city.

According to the mayor the closing of the plant cost the city about $22-million a year. That, combined with the closing of the Birdseye Plant 5-years-ago, financially devastated the city.

As for how long the demolition will take, the mayor says it will take a while. He says it’s important to remember that it’s not one building being demolished, but a set of buildings with asbestos removal.

The mayor hopes the first phase of the demolition will be done by early June. He hopes a supermarket planned for part of the site will lift the spirits of the struggling community.