“The coal mine was in operation for about 10 years but the company was sold and the new company shut the mine down within six months. This site sat completely empty for the next ten years until Roger and I decided to buy it,” Kenny Lasater was telling me about how he and fellow farmer Roger Swartz bought the 240 acre Consul Coal Mine site in McLeansboro, IL in 1999.
Since then they’ve converted the old coal bins into over 2 million bushels of grain storage, turned the offices and maintenance facility into a coop farm center, built a 125 ton dry fertilizer building, rebuilt 3 miles of rail and turned an unproductive asset into a bustling agri-business hub. Future plans are to entice in an ethanol and biodiesel facility.
Local entrepreneurs, reinvesting in their hometown and turning a decaying asset back into a productive one….It’s happening all over the USA.