MT. MORRIS – Roughly 25% of the old Kable Printing plant will be demolished in the coming weeks, village Trustee and former Kable employee Jerry Stauffer said.
About 230,000 square feet of the building on Sunset Lane will come down, including the east end offices and the south side ink farm and press rooms. The area is fenced off and preliminary demolition work is being done.
“It’ll be fairly soon,” Stauffer said. “It’s all to upgrade the property. The rest of it may stay and be renovated and marketed. With the fencing up, they’ll start in the center and work their way out.
"They said they’ll be taking down the old smokestack. I know people want to see that.”
Demolition likely will take months, he said.
The parts of the facility that will come down have been remodeled “too many times” and need to come down, Stauffer said, adding that 650,000 square feet will be kept.
The property is owned by Phoenix Investors of Milwaukee. The plant, in operation for 114 years, shut down in 2013; it also operated under the names Quebecor and World Color.
Stauffer, who was employed at the plant more than 20 years, said it’ll be tough to see it partially town down after the value it brought to the village and area over the years.
“A good majority of Mt. Morris people worked there, and it was their livelihood. It fed families. People from Sterling, Dixon, Polo, Lanark and Mt. Carroll worked there. It drew employment in a 40 mile radius. It was the biggest in Ogle County," he said.
“I’m a realist. Nothing lasts forever. It was harder to see it close after trying to extend its life.”