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Palisades hires temporary workers, local businesses see a boost

The Palisades Nuclear Power Plant is working on a $58 million refueling and maintenance project that was scheduled to begin Sunday. An unexpected outage at the plant on Wednesday caused crews to begin work earlier than expected.

The repair project will bring in more than a thousand workers to Southwest Michigan from out of town, which has some local businesses seeing dollar signs.

Manager of Tello Italian Bistro, Kevin Hutchens, says it was a pretty typical summer in South Haven.

“It was non-stop busy,” said Hutchens.

Hutchens says that business usually lulls after Labor Day.

But, in neighboring town Covert, business is just getting started.

“We’ve brought in about 1,000 additional supplemental workers to help out with this, they’re from all over the country. We’re investing about $58 million into this refueling outage that does include salaries,” said Lindsay Rose, Palisades Power Plant Communications Specialist

Some of that money will undoubtedly be spent in the area.

While the town’s summer vacationers are packing up to head back home, a whole new group of visitors are coming to South Haven to work at the plant.

“They need a place to stay, they are staying in the local hotels and of course they need a place to eat, they eat out at the local restaurants," said Rose. 

“With them coming in it’s a great opportunity for local businesses here in town,” said Hutchens.

It's a great opportunity not just for local business owners, but also the people working for them.

“The fact that it’s not peak season in many of those cases some of those people’s jobs are not necessarily year round. So, this will certainly be a boost to helping to increase the employment into the fall,” said Lisa Shanley, Executive Director of the South Haven Visitors Bureau.

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