UPDATED: Detroit Diesel to bring 50 jobs back to Hibbing

According to the Mesabi Daily News, Detroit Diesel is expanding to the unoccupied spec building by the Range Regional Airport in Hibbing. The project would create about 50 jobs. They’re seeking $2.5 million loan from the IRRRB at its Thursday meeting.

I suppose one of those jobs would be the one my dad was laid off from in 1998, when Detroit General Diesel closed its Hibbing shop and laid off about 50 people. But hey, who’s counting? At least that gargantuan ugly spec building will be used for something five years after it was built for no reason. And the old Detroit General Diesel building will one day decompose, providing brownish green space along one of Hibbing’s busiest streets. Really, this is a win-win.

CORRECTION: I erred in saying that my dad was laid off from Detroit Diesel. In thinking about it before bed I realized I had mixed up Detroit for General Diesel, where my dad worked in the late ’90s. I apologize for this error.

ADDITION: Despite my stupid mistake, I feel pretty much the same way about Range development strategy. I’m glad the spec building is being filled and I’m glad 50 jobs are being created, but the way we’ve gone about doing this is both risky and probably a wash in terms of economic growth for public dollars spent. Officials in Hibbing are damn lucky they found somebody to take that spec building, and I’m sure they’re practically giving it away.

Indeed, the General Diesel shop in Hibbing is a rough looking building along the Beltline (Hwy. 169 as it curves through Hibbing). My dad was also laid off from Cummins Diesel in Hibbing in the ’80s and THAT building on the Beltline is now a sketchy pawn shop and cut-rate divorce attorney that’s been dinged by the Better Business Bureau.

It’s depressing to see these properties that once were a vibrant part of the economy become living blight, functional space that is underused while money is poured into properties on the distant edges of town, and face the same risks that closed down their predecessors.

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