What started out as a nightmare for local senior citizens and the area’s economy turned out to be a dream come true. In January, Arcadia’s nursing home delivered the devastating news that they were closing their doors in mid-April; 53 residents were forced to relocate and 114 employees were losing their jobs. For a city still reeling from losing its only round-the-clock health care facility four years ago, Arcadia was in desperate need of some good news.
Fortunately, along with being rich in hardworking families and scenic beauty, the Arcadia area is also abundant in a resource that many of us played in at the beach or in our backyards…sand. And not just any sand. Arcadia has large supplies of the rare silica sand prized by the companies that are working to make our country energy independent. AllEnergy, a leader in responsible, eco-friendly sandmining technology, has offered to give Arcadia seniors the chance to stay close to family and friends, and boost the local economy at the same time. AllEnergy CEO Dean Sukowatey is a man of action. He saw a crisis, and opportunity to help the senior citizens of Arcadia.
The company’s plan to build the “AllEnergy Senior Lodge” has been a breath of fresh air for a community that is now without a senior care facility. AllEnergy’s desire is to construct the 40- unit assisted living/ memory care facility on land donated by the family of Ron Wanek. The AllEnergy Senior Lodge will give employees displaced by the closing of the nursing home the opportunity to continue to live and prosper in Arcadia. Those who need an assisted living/ memory care facility in years to come will have a place to go in the local community. “My mother has been in a memory care facility for the last three years. I have always been impressed with Karen Brown, facility administrator, who shares my vision and passion for quality senior care,” Sukowatey said. “When I heard that they had closed Arcadia’s nursing home, I immediately thought of partnering with Karen to bring a memory care/assisted living facility to Arcadia. We pride ourselves on being good corporate citizens, and this is a perfect way to give back to the community.”
The new senior living center is part of an overall proposal from AllEnergy that also includes up to $1 million a year in community commitments and 42 new jobs for Arcadia.
“I have lived almost my entire life in Arcadia. I trust Dean Sukowatey, and I am very impressed with his concern for the environment and for the people of Arcadia,” said Paulette Rippley. “There has been a very positive reaction in Arcadia for the AllEnergy Senior Lodge. We just lost a facility that had been a part of the community for many years, and there is definitely a need for this kind of care in Arcadia for our aging seniors. The loss of almost 114 jobs was also devastating. Many of the employees of Arcadia’s nursing home had worked almost their entire lives at the facility. It’s almost impossible for a community to absorb the loss of so many quality jobs. Mr. Sukowatey offered to step up and help us when we needed it the most.”
The mine and processing facility will be constructed with state-of-the-art technology that is efficient, conserves energy and is ecofriendly. The finished
product will be transported to rail cars by conveyor belts, thus eliminating the carbon and congestion on local highways caused by trucking. AllEnergy’s application for state permits under Wis. State Statute Chapter 30 Navigable Waterways; Section 401 of the Clean Water Act – Wetland & Waters of the U.S.; and Wis. Admin. Code NR- 151-Site Stormwater Runoff (WPDES) to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have been approved. The agency determined that the company “fulfilled the state’s requirement to cause no substantial impact to the environment.”
“I think that the environmental opponents to this project need to put their prejudices aside and take an unbiased look at the technology that AllEnergy brings to the table,” maintained Rippley. “The DNR has approved their permits. The DNR for the State of Wisconsin is known for being very stringent. For them to approve these permits means that they have examined the project and determined that it is environmentally sound.”
Sand mining in various forms has been done in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin for well over a century. However, the technology that AllEnergy uses in their extraction, processing and rail loadout is truly state of the art. “The key to our new technology is to have no trucks taking our raw sand from the mine to the processing plant,” Dean Sukowatey explained. “In addition to providing economic savings, the process is also ecologically attractive. We are investing in clarifying tanks at the wash facility so that we can recycle the water involved in washing sand. Our project was engineered to contain a 100-year storm event and beyond. One of our conveyors takes the reclaimed materials straight from the plant back to the mine. Our technology is the perfect mix of ecology and economics.”