Paxton Ready Mix batching plant

A crane is used to set in place two of the largest pieces of Paxton Ready Mix's new batching plant, which was shipped in four pieces to the company's property at 702 N. Market St. late last summer.

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PAXTON — A local concrete supplier has put up a new batching plant on its property north of the city’s downtown.

A crane was used this week to set in place two of the largest pieces of the plant, which was shipped in four pieces to the Paxton Ready Mix property at 702 N. Market St. late last summer. Earlier, high-hoes and a telehandler were used to set the two smaller pieces.

Paxton Ready Mix spent more than $100,000 on the refurbished batching plant, which sits directly next to an older one the company has used since 1990. Co-owner Terry Whitcomb said the older plant will eventually be sold or parted out.

The decision to acquire a newer batching plant was made “because the old one was getting worn out,” Whitcomb said.

“It’s still functional,” Whitcomb said, “but it’s getting to the point where it’s going to have to have some major stuff done (to it), and it’s time to upgrade a little bit. This (newer one) will produce more concrete per hour than the old one does.”

The newer batching plant’s aggregate bins have the capacity to store 135 tons of rock and sand, Whitcomb said. Its aggregate batcher, which weighs the materials in preparation for depositing loads into delivery trucks, is 12 cubic yards, Whitcomb said.

Whitcomb said he anticipates the newer plant to last 35 or 40 more years.

Whitcomb said the newer plant, made of steel, was previously used in various other places, including Peoria and most recently LaSalle, before coming to Paxton.

“It’s moved around a little bit,” Whitcomb said.

Paxton Ready Mix has been in the Whitcomb family since its founding in 1955. Terry Whitcomb’s father, Fred, was one-third owner of the business when it began and became its sole owner in 1976.

Today, the business is co-owned by Terry Whitcomb, his sister Carol Whitcomb and his brother Greg Whitcomb. Greg Whitcomb is retired, though, and has moved to Arizona, leaving Terry and Carol Whitcomb to run the day-to-day operations.

Terry Whitcomb, who turns 62 years old in November, said he plans to join his brother in retirement “sooner rather than later.”

“I’m probably going to be retired next year,” he said.

Once that happens, he said, he expects his sister and her two sons — Mark Whitcomb and Matt Wolken — to run the company’s day-to-day operations.

“They’re already pretty well involved in it,” Terry Whitcomb said of his nephews.

Terry Whitcomb has been working at Paxton Ready Mix since the 1970s, upon graduating from Paxton High School in 1976.

“I’ve been here all of my life, so it’s just kind of a way of life,” Whitcomb said.