Regional sites offer locations to QPP

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 14, 2002

Though there is no timetable for Quality Pork Processors' plans to expand, cities such as Albert Lea and Clear Lake, Iowa are already presenting what they have to offer.

Last week, the Albert Lea City Council approved a preliminary proposal presenting a possible site for the plant in the Northaire Industrial Park.

As for Austin, officials say there are several sites around the city that are available, particularly the Cook Farm. Also known as the Austin Business Park, the 150-acre site east of U.S. Highway 218 was given to the city at least 20 years ago by Hormel Foods. That site has been considered as a location for QPP's possible expansion, City Administrator Pat McGarvey commented.

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"It's nothing new," McGarvey said, explaining that he began communication with QPP early this year about the possibility of expansion.

QPP is looking for a site for a plant that would eventually employ 100 to 200 people.

George Brophy, president of the Development Corporation of Austin, said some have interpreted the subject as if it is something that will be decided in the near future. However, Brophy said that is not likely the case.

Previously, Kelly Wadding, president and CEO of QPP, emphasized and stressed that the discussions are "tentative only."

"We are just thinking about it and exploring our options at this time," Wadding said. "In no way are we looking at downsizing our work force in Austin."

Currently the company employs about 1,240 employees.

Austin is fully aware that there are other cities interested and should be, because QPP has a tremendous customer need, Brophy said.

"We need to hear from QPP, what kind of plant it is that it needs; factors like geography or the type of plant … and be less prescriptive and better listeners," Brophy said.

The DCA, a non-profit organization, has worked closely with QPP in its early years and with the city. The city will put together a proposal of what it has to offer and the DCA will work as an interpreter between the city and the company if it comes to that, Brophy said.

"We'll be looking at what we can make available. It's about understanding the needs and it is up to QPP to bring it down to focus," Brophy said.

Roxana Orellana can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at :mailto: roxana.orellana@austindailyherald.