Updated 10/05/2012 04:45 PM
Honeoye Falls Fuel Cell Plant Closing
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The news isn't good for Honeoye Falls. General Motors has operated its fuel cell plant there since 1999 and expanded the Carriage Street facility two years later. It's where the auto maker's fuel cell technology was developed and tested.
GM says the plant will relocate to Pontiac, Michigan. In a statement, the company said "this decision has significant business advantages for the company. For example, it will enable GM to capitalize on synergies with the rest of the powertrain and vehicle organizations."
Kim Carpenter went on to say: "GM will maintain our focus on electrifcation solutions, which includes our ongoing fuel cell development efforts. GM is fully committed to developing technolgies to help our customers around the world use energy more efficiently and reduce dependence on petroleum."
Honeoye Falls mayor Rick Milne says the plant closing will be a large blow to the local economy.
"It's not so much tax base, tax revenue. It's really the 250 or so employees that walk in our village streets day in and day out, going to buy lunch, buy groceries, get their car worked on, that's the big effect," Milne said.
One of those businesses is Dipper Dan's Ice Cream Parlor. Owner Susan Connelly says GM employees are regular customers and she's become friends with many of them.
"They come into a lot of the businesses in Honeoye Falls, not just ours. They're very professional, wonderful, great personality, happy people. They'll be very much missed,” Connelly said.
GM says the majority of its Honeoye Falls employees will be offered the option to relocate to Michigan. As they headed into the village for lunch, employees say they were instructed not to talk to the media. Off camera, some said they will weight their options. Another said change brings opportunity.
Village residents say they're shocked at hearing this news, adding that it's going to be a huge loss for this community. Many hadn't heard the news until approached by YNN.
"I feel really bad for us because this has been a great thing for Honeoye Falls, so it's going to take a lot of people by surprise,” said Linda Bennett.
"I was always proud to have it here because of the electric car. I'm sorry that it's going to go,” said Connie Corsica.
Milne says there is opportunity down the road and village leaders will look for another clean technology firm to take over that facility. He expects GM to vacate the Honeoye Falls location when its lease expires in February.