Commission no longer pursuing Tyson plant
The Jackson County Commissioners say they are no longer pursuing the construction of a Tyson Foods plant in the county.
The commissioners are concerned that the county’s current infrastructure – especially its water supply – is not enough to support such a large project right now.
“We are concerned with the availability of water and wastewater treatment,” said Commissioner Janet Zwonitzer. “We don’t think we’d be capable of meeting Tyson’s needs.”
Tyson Foods is searching for a new location to build a $320 million plant in the state after cancelling its plans to build a poultry complex south of Tonganoxie in Leavenworth County after members of the public expressed strong opposition.
The Kansas Department of Agriculture, which is coordinating with Tyson to find a new location in the state, has reported the more than 30 communities and counties are interested in having the plant built in their area.
The proposed complex, including a chicken hatchery and feed mill, planned for the Tonganoxie area included 1,600 jobs on the proposed 300-acre site near Interstate 70.
Tyson currently operates facilities in Hutchinson, South Hutchinson, Garden City, Holcomb, Emporia and Olathe that employ 3,700 people.
All three Jackson County Commissioners were in favor of sending a letter to the state in support of the plant being built in the county, but after speaking with local water officials and discussing the matter further, Zwonitzer said concerns about the county’s water supply were raised.
“The quantities of water that they would need to operate that plant raises issues about water rates and where the water will come from, as well as discharge issues,” she said. “Tyson wants to proceed quickly with this project, and we can’t meet these water issues right now. We don’t have the time to look into everything that would have to be done right now to meet their needs.”
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