IA Hog Plant Proposal Still Subject of Debate

Even with an urban renewal plan to stimulate development in the area, opponents are urging residents to vote 'no.'

Hogs Pixabay 57ab332007497

CLARION, Iowa (AP) — The Wright County Board of Supervisors has approved an urban renewal area plan for a proposed $240 million hog processing plant near Eagle Grove.

The board approved the area on Monday, The Messenger reported. County economic development director Bryce Davis said the urban renewal plan will stimulate development in the area, and includes a new wastewater plant in Eagle Grove, road improvements and tax increment financing with eligible rebates going back to Prestage Foods of Iowa.

The wastewater plant is estimated to cost $16.2 million, according to Eagle Grove city administrator Mike Boyd.

Davis said plans call for discharge from the hog plant to go into a lagoon system, and wastewater would be pretreated onsite before being sent through a sewer main to the proposed wastewater plant. The discharge would be treated again at the plant.

"It will be a state-of-the-art facility that will have nutrient reduction strategy built in," Boyd said. "This is 2016 technology and what we have now is 1970s."

Opponents to the plant cited concerns about environmental issues, including water quality and flies, the Globe Gazette reported.

Kathy Schnell, an opponent of the plant, said she did not want Prestage to be provided with tax incentives.

"Even if it meant great jobs with great benefits for our Wright County residents. Even if they could guarantee that it won't stink, it wouldn't foul up the air, water or soil, I would still ask you to vote 'no,'" Schnell said.

County development director Davis emphasized that existing tax funds from county residents will not go to the company.

Another meeting for the urban renewal area plan is scheduled for Aug. 15. Final votes on the development agreement and the renewal area are set for Aug. 22.