Big Expansion in Muscatine - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Big Expansion in Muscatine

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Over 100 new jobs - paying anywhere from $15/hr - $70,000/year - could be coming to Muscatine.

This is from Heinz announcing that a large part of their production will be moved to the Muscatine plant.

But not everybody in town agrees with the new expansion.

"I think it's a trade-off," says Melissa Goetzman, Muscatine. "Our air quality is terrible, and I don't see it getting any better. And I don't see much being done about it. The new jobs, at lease people will have something."

But, city leaders say factories have provided stability in the city for a long time.

"Our unemployment rate is low and traditionally, when times are tough outside our area, our employment number have been really good," says Mayor DeWayne Hopkins.

The city council voted to move forward with the expansion at Thursday's meeting, paving the way for over 100 high paying jobs.

But it may come with a cost for the city.

Heinz, with the help of the council's vote, is applying for state aid for the $24 million expansion, under the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

If the new work at the factory raises the property value, Muscatine would be forced to match the state aid, under Iowa Code.

That would likely come from TIF district money, according to the City Administrator.

But even with possible costs, the mayor say it's worth it.

"If the work force in Muscatine grows by 100 people in the next six months to a year, that will tell something to retailers who are teetering on whether or not to locate in Muscatine."

If all goes according to plan with the expansion, construction at the plant would start later this month.

New employees could be hired not long after that.

 

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