E. Ind. county giving $50M boost to food company

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RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) -- A food-processing company that plans to restart a closed factory in eastern Indiana is getting a $50 million assist from local officials.

The Wayne County Council on Wednesday approved the bond issue as part of Sugar Creek Packing Co.'s plans to expand and refurbish the former Really Cool Foods plant near Cambridge City, the Palladium-Item reported (http://pinews.co/Rass1d ).

The Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County also approved the bond action, which attorney Tyler Kalachnik said would be repaid by the company over 30 years.

Sugar Creek Chief Financial Officer Tom Bollinger told county officials that company planned spending $64 million investment on the project and expected to have 400 workers processing pork and chicken products after the plant becomes operational by mid-2014.

The Washington Court House, Ohio-based company plans 170,000-square-foot expansion of the current 78,000-square-foot plant to provide additional space for production, storage and refrigeration and water treatment equipment.

"It's a big project, and we're happy to be in Wayne County," Bollinger said. "We're getting an excellent facility with good infrastructure, and we will try to hire (workers) locally as much as possible."

Really Cool Foods had about 130 workers when it shut down last year, having never come close to its plans announced in 2007 for having 1,000 employees in Cambridge City's industrial park about 50 miles east of Indianapolis.

Sugar Creek bought the property for $13 million this summer through a U.S. bankruptcy court.

Sugar Creek currently has five facilities in Ohio and Kansas and prepares a variety of raw and fully cooked products for domestic and international customers. Bollinger said the Cambridge City facility will be the company's largest.

John McBride, a member of the Wayne County economic development commission, said he was encouraged by Sugar Creek's actions.

"In the darkest of times, it's amazing that we have a company that found Wayne County," McBride said.

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Information from: Palladium-Item, http://www.pal-item.com