Counting down: 12 for 2012

Published 8:54 am Sunday, January 1, 2012

Southeast view of the new Hormel Institute expansion. - Photo submitted

4. Potential Institute expansion means 125 new jobs

Not much would have a bigger economic impact on Austin than the creation of 125 high-paying jobs. Couple that with an expansion at a world-renowned cancer research facility, and the benefits increase exponentially.

Topping The Hormel Institute’s 2012 wish list is a $27-million expansion that would double its size and create 125 jobs. But first, the cancer research center needs $13.5 million in state bonding funding, which will be approved or denied by the capital investment committee towards the end of the 2012 legislative session.

Approving the funding would be a no-brainer to some locally, including John Garry, executive director of the Development Corporation of Austin.

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“In a rural community of just under 25,000 people, adding $5 million to $6 million in payroll has an enormous impact,” Garry said in a letter to the capital investment committee in December.

Garry said that sudden increase in jobs would also have an employment “multiplier effect,” as the scientists would rent apartments, buy homes, purchase groceries and other goods, and their presence would trigger the need for more professional services and health care. He noted the $27-million construction project would also have an immediate impact.

“It is clear (the expansion) would have a very major economic impact on the city of Austin, southern Minnesota and the state,” he said in the letter.