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by Leah Thorsen

A harmonious partnership thrived for decades between the sand mine where Tom Kerr wants to build an underground entertainment district and the neighboring site where Jim Kennedy wants to build an iron ore smelter.

The mine, dating to the late 1880s, provided sand to the glass factory that stood across Plattin Creek on the proposed smelter site.

But today, their proximity may be a less than favorable arrangement as the two men try to bring their ambitious plans to fruition.

Kerr, president and owner of the Fiesta Corp., paid $850,000 for the sand mine in 2007. He estimates he has spent about $2 million on it, including ripping out old rail lines and installing enough electricity to provide dim lighting in the dark mine.

The Jefferson County Council late last month gave Kerr the zoning change he needs to push his project forward. But getting to that point has been fraught with problems stemming from the proposed smelter, a project also hitting hurdles.

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