RH3 Media Hearing Book - June 20, 2005 St Louis, MO Page: 61 of 81
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local KPT Inc. tile factory closed in 2001 and General Electric laid off workers at its
Bloomington plant in March, residents said.
Now, one of the fastest-growing jobs is selling the illegal drug methamphetamine, said Sherry
Benton, bartender at the Spot Lounge in Bloomfield.
"Oh Lord have mercy, there's a big meth problem," she said. "There's nothing for kids to do.
There's no movie theater, no roller rink."
Wilkinson said some have turned to drug dealing because they have no job or money.
"I don't condone it, but when you're destitute and there's no jobs, it can make you do desperate
things," he said.
In Bloomfield, about 46 percent of the jobs are tied to Crane. It's even higher -- 67 percent -- in
the Martin County city of Loogootee, economic development officials said.
But even the base's presence hasn't kept vacant storefronts from dotting the downtowns. In
Bloomfield, the state recently announced it would close the Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch.
"There's just no industry left in Greene County at all," said Basil Bennett, who said at least six
stores have closed since he opened The Dancing Bear antiques store in Bloomfield eight years
Richard Cornett, who has run a barber shop in Loogootee for 35 years, said many of his
customers work at Crane and the uncertainty over their jobs has been trying.
"A lot of people have been putting off building homes around here," he said
Crane is Southern Indiana's second-largest employer, providing the bulk of its jobs in five
counties -- Daviess, Greene, Lawrence, Martin and Monroe -- where the average poverty rate in
2002 was 11 percent overall and 12.6 percent for children younger than 18.
Wilkinson, who delivers newspapers for a living, thinks efforts to develop the area around Crane
and the planned extension of 1-69 through the area could be a godsend.
"I'd like to see something to entice more businesses down here and to provide more jobs for the
area. There is just nothing here," he said. "Crane is about it.
"We don't even have a drug store anymore. It's a shame the town is drying up like this."
In Newport, where most of the depot jobs were lost decades ago, economic development officials
are looking forward to redeveloping the base once it closes to create more jobs.
Bob Sollars, 54, remembers when the Newport Chemical Depot employed thousands and fueled
"We used to have three grocery stores, two restaurants, two gas stations. The town was
flourishing when it was booming," said Sollars, as he helped his 12-year-old grandson, Bobby,
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United States. Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. RH3 Media Hearing Book - June 20, 2005 St Louis, MO, legal document, November 4, 2005; (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc24404/m1/61/: accessed May 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.