It looks like everyone in Rockdale is speaking about Sandow Lakes Ranch. That’s as a result of residents of this previous mining hub in Central Texas imagine that the destiny of the 32,000-acre tract is essential to the future of their city.
The ranch’s proprietor has been attempting to promote the property. The Rockdale residents have been buzzing about potential patrons, from a longshot bid for Amazon’s HQ2 to information that a Bitcoin mining firm would possibly set up a store. Amazon didn’t choose Rockdale, and the Bitcoin firm scaled its plans again.
For greater than half a century, The Rockdale was primarily an organization city. As many as 2,000 individuals labored on that property, the place a sprawling coal mine fed an influence plant that in flip powered an energy-hungry aluminum smelter.
Pittsburgh-based Alcoa owned the mine and smelter, and the generations of Rockdale residents who labored there proudly called themselves Alcoans. At one level, the corporate accounted for 40% of the county’s tax base and 65% of the native college district’s funds.
However, in 2008, after 56 years of working within the city about an hour’s drive northeast of Austin, Alcoa dropped a bombshell: It will shutter the smelter that employed about 10% of the city’s inhabitants. Nine years later, cutthroat competitors from pure gasoline and renewables led Luminant, the most crucial energy producer in Texas, to shut its coal-fired Sandow Energy Plant and lay off one other 450 people. By then, Alcoa had closed the coal mine, too, relying on lignite from the nearby Three Oaks mine.