The Western Sugar Cooperate Plant in Torrington will lay off 86 employees in November when it shuts down the production facilities. There are concerns surrounding the layoffs, including what the shutdown will mean for the city’s economy. Ashley Harpstreith, Executive Director of Goshen County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC), said the community will face challenges.
“Of course anybody that loses their job, that’s tough, and there’s just no way to sugar coat around that. Department of Workforce Services, Eastern Wyoming College, and ourselves have already started talking about and looking at training and training grant opportunities,” said Harpstreith.
The plant will not leave the community completely. Western Sugar plants to enhance warehouse space and shipping operations. The sugar plant also plans on extending the powdered sugar line. However, according to Harpstreith, there are other concerns surrounding the effects on local businesses and the overall city electric contract.
“I think it’s good that they’re not turning the lights off completely with the facility, but the electricity used to run that campaign will be devastating to the city of Torrington. Trying to figure out how to compensate for that loss, the loss of that electrical rate will not be good,” said Harpstreith.
Wyoming Ethanol, which closed last year, and the Western Sugar had paid for almost a third of the city’s contract for electricity. Now the burden falls to Torrington officials who are searching for another way to pay the bill.