Weather delays Hormel’s expansion to Blooming Prairie

Published 9:08 am Wednesday, May 22, 2013

By Ashley Stewart

Owatonna People’s Press

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — This spring, Hormel Foods Corp. was scheduled to take its first steps into Steele County in the Blooming Prairie Industrial Park, but company officials say the recent snow and rain have slowed progress.

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Blooming Prairie City Administrator Mike Jones said Hormel has started installing a geothermal heating and cooling system this month, but the rainy weather has filled the site’s trenches and delaying further work.

“They haven’t been doing much there this week because the trenches are full of water,” Jones said.

In January, Hormel announced that it would be building a new data center in Blooming Prairie to act as a safeguard against natural disaster or other events that could destroy the company’s information technology systems, which are currently in Austin. The center won’t have anyone working there, but will serve as a backup.

According to the development agreement, Hormel plans to build an 8,800-square-foot concrete, precast building with a security fence. The building will sit on two lots.

While the facility won’t bring new jobs to Blooming Prairie, it will benefit the city, Jones said.

“Our benefit is getting a new state-of-the-art facility and company in our city,” Jones said when the plans were announced in January. “The exposure our community will receive is such an asset. This is a great big deal.”

Mayor H. Peterson said in January that the additional commercial tax base the company will create will benefit the community as well as the school district.

“Small towns need a big tax base to counteract the cost of residential taxes,” Peterson said. “Everyone’s taxes will go down a bit.”

Peterson said construction of the new facility will also bring commerce to the Blooming Prairie community.

The Hormel data center is joining Metal Services Inc., BioPlastic Solutions, Extreme Powder Coating, Tandem Products Inc. as well as others in the city’s industrial park, which is located on the northeast part of the city.

Rick Williamson, manager of external communications at Hormel, said the company expects to have the facility completed by late spring or summer of 2014.