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Brainerd Facility Managing Volkswagen Recall, Emissions Tests

BRAINERD, Minn. (WCCO) -- Hundreds of cars are being sent to a business in northern Minnesota following a major recall.

Thousands of vehicles are expected to end up at the Brainerd Industry Center (BIC). The rows and rows of cars sitting in the lot are part of a recall after Volkswagen admitted to cheating on emissions tests. But it's what could happen next that has neighbors worried.

Vehicles of all kinds travel on Mill Avenue in Brainerd, but lately Volkswagens on car haulers dominate the road.

"It's the size of this," Gary Scheeler, who lives near the facility, said. "This isn't 10 cars, this is thousands. I've heard it could be up to 20,000 cars brought in here."

The Volkswagens are part of a recall in which the automaker agreed to set aside $10 billion to cover buybacks or fixes for the diesel cars. Many of the Minnesota recalls are ending up at the BIC.

It's not the site of all these cars coming into the facility every day that has neighbors concerned -- it's not knowing what is going to happen next that has them on edge.

Scheeler thinks some of the older models will be recycled, adding a lot of unwanted noise to his neighborhood.

"The scrap pile will be the issue," he said. "There's no way once he starts recycling these that they can remove that kind of material."

That has homeowner Julie Kletschner worried that this could also become an environmental issue, especially with the Mississippi River right next door.

"Everything that could run off could go into there," she said. "I wonder if he's got a proper storm water management site for that. I'm not sure."

BIC's owner, Mike Higgens, did not return our calls. But a Volkswagen dealer said that some of the newer recalled models will be fixed and then sold back to dealerships.

"All we're looking for are answers," Scheeler said. "What's the intent? Volkswagen is as secret as they were about emissions problems. They're that secretive about what they're doing to the cars here."

Neighbors say they've reached out to city leaders, and haven't received any answers about what the plans are for the cars. Some Volkswagen dealers John spoke with said they believe the older models will be recycled.

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