Council approves resolutions for JBS freezer facility plan
WORTHINGTON — A planned $30 million freezer warehouse at Worthington’s JBS facility received support from the Worthington City Council via resolution Monday night.
Swift Pork Company, owned by JBS USA Holdings Inc., had submitted a request to the city for incentives to support Project Ice, an estimated 175,000- to 200,000-square-foot facility. Project Ice, according to company officials, would create approximately 70 new jobs ranging from $17.05 to $21.30 per hour, plus benefits. The expansion could store up to 25 million pounds of frozen product and 2.5 million pounds of fresh product, increasing the plant’s overall production capacity.
Swift requests up to $450,000 from the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) program in the form of a forgivable loan. If approved, the city of Worthington would enter a grant contract with DEED in which DEED would award a grant to the city’s Revolving Loan Fund to be used as a forgivable loan to Swift.
Worthington Assistant City Administrator/Director of Economic Development Jason Brisson said Swift representatives have already communicated with DEED about the MIF money request and received positive feedback, though approval is not assured. In order to formally make the request to DEED, the city must be a participating entity.
Brisson also noted Monday night that the proposed expansion conforms to the city’s comprehensive plan in terms of location and economic impact.
“The city’s comprehensive plan has identified goods and services, jobs and tax base as the
economic objectives of the community,” Brisson said. “The construction of the proposed facility will create new jobs and add tax base to the community, two goals outlined in the city’s
comprehensive plan. Further, JBS would be able to utilize the new freezer facility to
alleviate a shortage of freezer storage space in the region.”
Following approval of the resolution supporting Swift’s grant application to DEED, council members adopted a resolution backing Swift’s request of up to $550,000 from the DEED Job Creation Fund (JCF) program.
“The business will be required to provide annual reports detailing job creation and wage information to DEED to document compliance with the terms of the agreement,” Brisson explained. “The local unit of government is required to assist the business with these yearly reports and payment requests to DEED. If the employer meets the job creation and wage goals outlined in their subsidy agreement, DEED will disburse funds to the business annually.”
In a separate matter Monday, the council voted to allow local resident Aleksander Lacayo to rent electric boats at an area near the Centennial Park boat landing to interested parties. Lacayo described the Leisure Battery Lake Electric Boats as being 13 feet long, four feet wide and five feet high; weighing 396 pounds; having a capacity of four to five people; and capable of a speed of less than 6 mph.
Life jackets would also be part of the rental, and Lacayo would also be required to pay a dock fee as well as provide a liability policy. Waivers would also need to be signed by renters when using the electric boats.
“These electric boats would provide the public with another amenity for our city lake,” Worthington Director of Public Works Todd Wietzema said.
In other business, the council approved:
Plans and specifications for Glenwood Heights Second Addition street, storm sewer, sanitary sewer and water improvements following city engineer Dwayne Haffield’s presentation of a project feasibility report and a public hearing. Worthington City Councilman Chad Cummings later noted it was the last council meeting for Haffield, longtime municipal employee who is nearing his retirement date.
A petition submitted by District 518 asking for the extension of the municipal water system to serve the to-be-constructed intermediate school approved by voters last year. A previous water main extension needed for the ALC/gymnastics building, which opened in 2019, did not extend south of that facility.
A new three-year agreement for District 518 rental of Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center for school productions and activities. The agreement reserves the facility for District 518’s use for 62 days per contract year. Should the usage exceed 62 days per contract year, the district shall pay a prorated amount for the additional days.
The agreement includes a 2% increase for each of the three years of the new contract. For the July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023 school year, the annual fee will be $33,784.
A professional services agreement from Short Elliott Hendrickson to prepare construction and bid documents for a Lake Okabena outlet pipe rehabilitation project. Work is anticipated to be performed during the winter of 2020-2021.
A city application for a preliminary plat of a residential subdivision to be known as Glenwood Heights 2nd Addition on a 51.45-acre tract of land the city owns west and mainly south of an extension of Sutherland Drive. The plat would create 28 lots intended for residential development and 10 outlots, of which one will likely be subdivided in the future for additional residential lots.
Requests from four parties to place benches in city parks and along the bike trails.
A $296,000 bid from Henning Construction to complete the Slater Park and Ludlow Park parking areas.