State reps, Institute to talk expansion

Published 10:50 am Thursday, October 20, 2011

State officials will tour The Hormel Institute Monday to talk about a $13.5 million state bonding fund. -- Herald file photo

Austin Port requesting $13.5M in state funds

State legislators and local leaders will visit The Hormel Institute on Monday to tour the site of a potential expansion project, according to a state committee administrator.

Tom Freeman, Minnesota House Capital Investment committee administrator, said the chair and DFL lead of the Capital Investment committee will travel from St. Paul to learn about the expansion. The Hormel Institute, through Austin’s Port Authority, has requested $13.5 million in state bonding funds for the project.

Freeman said Sen. Dan Sparks and Rep. Jeanne Poppe, of Austin, will be at the tour. City of Austin officials and representatives of the Port Authority will also likely be in attendance, Freeman said.

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“It’s a bipartisan (bonding) bill that needs two-thirds support, so it’s important to get a wide variety of support from around the state,” Freeman said. “It is truly a visual representation of what The Hormel Institute is trying to do with these dollars.”

The tour will include a presentation about the funding and need for bonding dollars, as well as a tour of the areas that will be renovated or expanded.

“We look forward to seeing the project up close and personal,” Freeman said.

The request for $13.5 million in state bonding funds represents half of the estimated project cost. The rest of the funding would be through an Austin Port Authority bonding issuance, meaning the Hormel Foundation would be in a contractual agreement with the port authority to make bond payments, city officials previously said.