Robert Russo, who serves as president of the Johnston Town Council, adjusted his white construction hard hat and dug his gold-plated shovel into a pile of sand. Russo joined a host of federal and state officials last Friday morning on Green Earth Avenue and helped break ground for the future home of Sims Metal Recycling Facility.
“People always ask me why I run for politics,” Russo said prior to the ceremonial groundbreaking. “This is what motivates me to run for Town Council; this is what business development means for Johnston.”
Last Friday morning’s groundbreaking means that Sims Metal Recycling Facility will construct a new state-of-the-art facility on both sides of Earth Green Avenue.
“This is a huge day for the town of Johnston,” said Mayor Joseph Polisena, who emceed the ceremony and announced that Sims Metal Recycling will invest $30 million into the location.
“Sims Metal Recycling Management is a Fortune 500 company and the world leader in metals recycling,” he added.
The new facility will mean 100 additional jobs to Johnston, as well as short-term construction work for the duration of the project.
“This is big for Johnston and big for the state,” said Councilman David Santilli. “What I really like about [Sims] is that everything at this new facility will be ultra modern. This is also the right location; it won’t disturb any neighbors or cause all sorts of noise.”
Michael OConnell, executive director of the neighboring Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation, added that he is looking forward to the technological capacity brought to the town by Sims.
“This will be an amazing operation; Sims can shred a complete automobile in just 10 seconds,” he said.
Ken Marandola, Sims’ public relations manager who was formerly a Rhode Island State Trooper, and Project Manager Bill Hughes said the facility is slated to be up and running by August of 2013.
United States Senator Jack Reed praised Polisena for his work in getting Sims to locate in Johnston, and was joined by his colleagues in government Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman James Langevin and Gov. Lincoln Chafee at the groundbreaking.
“Sims Metal Recycling could have chosen any other place in New England for this new facility; my personal congratulations to Mayor Polisena for bringing it to Johnston,” Reed said.
“We’re all thrilled Sims Metal Management has chosen Johnston – and Rhode Island – for what will be a great fit for everyone,” Langevin added.