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New developments: Mason City laying ground work for slaughterhouse


This news story was published on March 7, 2016.
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General vicinity of the urban renewal district the city council will likely approve soon, where a potential kill plant could be located.

General vicinity of the urban renewal district the city council will likely approve soon, where a potential kill plant could be located.

MASON CITY – Preparations are further advancing in Mason City for a possible slaughterhouse development on the city’s south side, which could employ 1,000 people or more.

Silence and denials are rampant as NIT questions elected and un-elected officials about this possible major project for the city’s south side.  NIT reported on this development back on February 8, telling readers that mayor Eric Bookmeyer is personally spearheading the recruitment of a large kill plant / slaughterhouse / meat processing plant. Initial estimates range from 820 jobs up to 1000 jobs should he successfully lure the development.

Since then, Bookmeyer has ignored questions from NIT about this potential major development.  City councilman Alex Kuhn has also ignored repeated questions about this development.  Councilman Brett Schoneman has ignored our questions, as well, even though another source described Schoneman as “giddy” at the prospect of this development happening.  In addition, North Iowa Corridor CEO Chad Schreck told NIT that “we are unable to comment on speculation or rumors of projects, whether we’re involved or not. We can only address actual projects that would go before a public body for approval.”

Eric Bookmeyer refuses to answer any questions from NIT, on any topic whatsoever.

Bookmeyer may have foreshadowed his pursuit of this development this past January.

He said then, after 6 long years in office, that Mason City is “ready to do something we haven’t done in decades, grow.”  He went on to note that the city’s population has continued to decline over the years and the city “wasn’t as aggressive at job creation … this time we’re leading the recovery … and leveraging our resources.  This is the result of a united, aggressive Council and our tremendous partnership with the North Iowa Corridor”.

Even as Bookmeyer ignores questions and Mr. Schreck denies any involvement and uses words like “speculation” and “rumor” in addressing this developing situation, strong sources connected to city and county government are now telling NIT that Bookmeyer is no longer “going it alone” on the pursuit of a kill plant for Mason City. In fact, NIT is told that most of the city council, the North Iowa Corridor and the people that make up that “economic development” agency are now firmly behind Bookmeyer and are working on landing some kind of slaughterhouse outfit to locate to Mason City. Mr. Schreck did not immediately respond to new questions Monday morning:

Chad Schreck (left) and his mealticket, Eric Bookmeyer, both refuse to discuss this project

Chad Schreck (left) and his mealticket, Eric Bookmeyer, both refuse to discuss this project

“As an agency that spends hundreds of thousands of local taxpayer dollars each year to operate, I would hope that you would be willing to have some level of transparency here. Can you confirm that the NI Corridor is involved in pursuing this slaughterhouse, which would employ hundreds – perhaps over 1000 people? Is the Corridor involved in making preparations on the south side of Mason City in the new urban renewal area that the city plans to approve? What is, exactly, the NI Corridor’s role in this possible development? Are you talking to investors, or companies that would build here?”

Despite the refusal of officials to comment or go on the record  regarding the possibility of a slaughterhouse being built in town, Mason City appears to be moving ahead and laying the groundwork to prepare for some kind of project, or at least provide an area of town readied for a development of this nature to go ahead.

A source has confirmed that an urban renewal district is set to be approved by the city council, and this area is designated as the spot officials want to put the slaughterhouse.   City documents show that the City Council of the City of Mason City will hold a public hearing at its meeting at 7:00 PM on April 5, 2016 to consider adoption of a proposed Mason City Southside Gateway Urban Renewal Plan concerning a proposed Urban Renewal Area in the City of Mason City, generally depicted in the following map, which land is to be included as part of this proposed urban renewal area:

City of Mason City urban renewal area

City of Mason City urban renewal area

If the plan is approved, the City of Mason City would undertake urban renewal activities that would make this location attractive and perhaps ready for development that could include a slaughterhouse.

Alex Kuhn remains silent on this development and will not answer questions about it.

Alex Kuhn – who has become a staunch ally of Eric Bookmeyer – remains silent on this development and will not answer questions about it.  He has also grown silent on other matters, as well, which NIT will soon report.

“The general scope of the urban renewal activities under consideration in the Plan is to promote the growth and retention of qualified industries and businesses in the Urban Renewal Area through various public purpose and special financing activities,” city documents say.  “The City also may reimburse or directly undertake the installation, construction and reconstruction of substantial public improvements, including, but not limited to, water, sewer and other public improvements.  The City also may acquire and make land available for development or redevelopment by private enterprise as authorized by law. The plan provides that the City may issue bonds or use available funds for purposes allowed by the plan and that tax increment reimbursement of the costs of urban renewal projects may be sought if and to the extent incurred by the City. The plan initially proposes specific public infrastructure or site improvements to be undertaken by the City, and provides that the plan may be amended from time to time.”

NIT reported on February 8 that the city’s south side is a strong contender for this project, with access to rail, 4-lane highway and other infrastructure.  This urban renewal district would further enhance the chances of a development going in there – and is more proof this development is in the works.

Sources tell NIT that the development could turn into a political hot-button issue.  Some in town that know about the pursuit of this kill plant development are worried about a “certain element” that would be attracted to town to work in the facility, if it is ever built.

More on this developing situation coming soon.

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49 Responses to New developments: Mason City laying ground work for slaughterhouse

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 30, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    You people are nuts if you think this is a good thing. A family friend works in law enforcement around spirit lake and deals with the problems there.You think drugs and crime is a problem now guess what it’s going to get 100 times worse! I can’t what for all the people who are for this to get there houses broke into and assaulted down town!

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      May 1, 2016 at 6:53 am

      That is not what the stats say, you liar.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 10, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Bookmeyer states their will be no odor . Obama stated…….’if you like your health insurance you can keep it’…..LIES !!!!! Since when do live hogs not produce manure? Mason City will become the “GRAND STENCH CITY” of the Midwest, with the combination of the hog facility & Vi-Cor odors. These jobs will pay about $11/hr , annual salary of about $22,000…..isn’t that below the poverty level? If I am correct the gentle breezes of summer come from the South, right? Get your gas masks ready !

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 9, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    These will be $10-$13 per hour jobs. Curries is crying for help as well as Winnebago ! Perhaps Bookmeyers intention is to bring in those Syrian refugees to fill the positions ( along with raping the ‘white women & little girls’ in our community )

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 9, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    OK….How many people think Peter Lagios will apply for a job at this plant?

  5. Avatar

    Bookie Reply Report comment

    March 9, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    I dont like the mayor and his puppets but damn we need jobs in this broken town. When the old deckers plant was here there were things happening. People kind of policed themselves back then. Times have changed but with the extra dollars it should help and yes we all know the stigma that comes with a meat packing plant but its already here so no big deal with the dope and crime.

    • Avatar

      It's only a matter of time Reply Report comment

      March 9, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      They will need to widen south 65 to hampton before long.

  6. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 9, 2016 at 5:02 am

    2000 jobs new jobs are nice but where do you think they are going to get the majority of the workers, imports!! more people will need more police, higher taxes, more firemen, higher taxes, more schools, higher taxes, new roads, higher taxes, more housing developments, higher taxes, do I need to go onn

    • Avatar

      LVS Reply Report comment

      March 9, 2016 at 8:01 am

      What it really means is more people paying taxes, buying homes, cars and mostly paying more taxes that helps absorb the cost of services. These are decent paying jobs that will allow people to get off the welfare dime. Quit your damn bitching and get with the program. This can be a good thing for the city.

      • Avatar

        Better Learn Spanish Reply Report comment

        March 9, 2016 at 8:20 am

        Look what it did for postville!

      • Avatar

        Reality Check Reply Report comment

        March 9, 2016 at 8:44 am

        Bravo LVS! Spot On.

      • Avatar

        Oinkers Reply Report comment

        March 9, 2016 at 2:34 pm

        I’m afraid you are insane. The jobs will be taken by people who don’t even speak our language. I’m sure the competition was real stiff for this one. MC is so very desperate to get something – anything – as Clear Lake continues to prosper and we fail.

        • Avatar

          LVS Reply Report comment

          March 9, 2016 at 5:08 pm

          @Oinker-If you drive south on 65 out by the old bowling alley and look to the west (that would be to the right for you) you will see a big blue thing called a water tower. It sits along a paved road that was built at the same time the water tower and infastructure were about 12 or 15 years ago. In other words the city planned on business building in that area long ago and built and paid for the infastructure. Get you facts straight before you look stupid again. If it people who speak another language that come in, more power to them. That is what this city was built on. We need the tax base to keep growing. If you don’t like it move to South Dakota. Maybe the indians will let in someone who doesn’t speak the language.

          • Avatar

            Brutus

            March 9, 2016 at 6:23 pm

            I suggest you call the City. This will require massive infrastructure upgrades. If you can read, review the urban renewal plan. It describes $36 million in water improvements alone.

          • Avatar

            Anonymous

            March 9, 2016 at 6:41 pm

            So what. The school system spends more than that in a year and they pay no taxes.

      • Avatar

        Oinkers Reply Report comment

        March 9, 2016 at 2:37 pm

        Read the Urban renewal Plan. It paves the way for Mason City to take on $36 million in water debt alone and millions more in sewer because of this project. Oh, but the rates won’t increase lol. You poor fools are getting taking to the woodshed and you’re too stupid or desperate to realize it.

      • Avatar

        Just My Opinion Reply Report comment

        March 9, 2016 at 2:56 pm

        Have to agree with LVS on this.

  7. Avatar

    anonymous also Reply Report comment

    March 8, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    It seems no matter what this city does…..they’re damned if they do and damned if they dont. I’m not a fan of Bookmeyers at all. The guys a chump. People gripe about no jobs, too many people on welfare. But when there’s an opportunity for jobs, people are griping. So what if it’s blue collar jobs. There’s nothing wrong with being a laborer.

  8. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 8, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Slaughter houses omit very obnoxious odors . Austin has a distinct odor from Hormel no matter what they try and filter. Not a good idea for they area. Once again this city jumps on something without thinking it through.

  9. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 8, 2016 at 8:32 am

    The “aroma” from Deckers came from the hide cellar and bi-products departments. Kill operations do not have them anymore. People like you are the reason we have no jobs in this city that are worth having. Class Action Suit my butt. For what? Someone starting a business. How damn selfish can you get?

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      March 8, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      A brand new slaughterhouse will still mean MC “has no jobs worth having”. Have you ever been to a slaughterhouse, or really any livestock facility? There’s a reason they need to import labor for those places….

  10. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 8, 2016 at 4:45 am

    there was a reason the forefathers built deckers on the north end of town, the aroma was blown north, wait it will still be blown north in the summer that way we can all enjoy it. city is always looking out for us. doesn’t matter to me, I have to keep the windows closed to drown out the noise from the alcohol plant so I guess it can keep the “aroma” out at the same time. maybe a class action suit should be looked into

    • Avatar

      younghee Reply Report comment

      March 8, 2016 at 10:15 am

      The prevailing wind direction for North Iowa is from the NorthWest

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      March 9, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      No, they built there because they could pull process water out of the river and dump their waste water into the river.

  11. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 7, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    There headed to North Carolina for a meeting this week or next

  12. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 7, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Wow, 1000 new jobs! But 990 of them will likely be filled by undocumented workers….that should be GREAT for the town!

    • Allen

      Allen Reply Report comment

      March 8, 2016 at 8:40 am

      I know that there are a lot of people out there that are too lazy to work, but does that mean there are only 10 people in this town willing too work. If that’s the case, then the saying is true, that Mexicans will do the work that the white man won’t, and that’s a shame.

    • Avatar

      Reality Check Reply Report comment

      March 8, 2016 at 9:09 am

      And their money is green. If not spent in Mason City some other place will get it. Just look at all the imports that Deckers brought to town and somehow we survived.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        March 8, 2016 at 8:28 pm

        Oh, some other place will get it: Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, perhaps Costa Rica. Most Americans are too lazy to work hard enough for those jobs.

    • Avatar

      Oinkers Reply Report comment

      March 9, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      You’re correct. Most of the workers will be legal, but many will not – just ask the INS about their regular raids in Storm lake. Oh, they were all legal there too – idiots. However, you are missing that most of the labor will be imported from Africa. Read the Sioux City paper from last year on the same company and same plant. They are brining them in from Somalia and Kenya.

  13. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 7, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    I have to honestly say Mason City is the laughing stock of the whole state, just look at all the dumb proposed ideas, along with all the law enforcement issues, just read this site! Embarrassing to say the least.

  14. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 7, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    It will never happen!

  15. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 7, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    Unethical for this Blue Zone.

  16. Avatar

    Reality Check Reply Report comment

    March 7, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    It does make some business sense (to me) that city officials would be rather tight lipped about the project at this stage of the game. And lets remember how Clear Lake maintained the code of silence for almost a year even when a ton of public money was involved. At some point however I hope that Bookmeyer and the council finally demonstrate some honesty and transparency.

  17. Allen

    Allen Reply Report comment

    March 7, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    The article doesn’t say exactly where on the south side, (43rd St.?) this development is going to be. But according to Cerro Gordo property search, there are 4 land owners along that area of 43rd St.. Golden Grain Energy, Interstate Power, ITC Midwest LLC, and Indian Head Farms Inc. Other then that, the land owner must be a secret.

  18. Avatar

    LVS Reply Report comment

    March 7, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    The city has already invested in infastructure in this area. It was done years ago under a different council. It makes good sense to build in that area if they are going to do it at all.

  19. Avatar

    Bodacious Reply Report comment

    March 7, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Who owns that land?

  20. Avatar

    Tom Willett Reply Report comment

    March 7, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Get ready for property values to go down, taxes going. Look into Storm Lake…

    • Avatar

      rahmbo Reply Report comment

      March 8, 2016 at 8:02 am

      Property values have been tanking here with the native Norskes and Krauts. Mexicans cant do much worse than those groups.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        March 8, 2016 at 8:27 am

        Damn town is full of drunks, druggers and thieves. No one wants to hire them knowing they will be back in jail next week.

    • Avatar

      rahmbo Reply Report comment

      March 8, 2016 at 8:06 am

      One of those deals where it will end up costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars per job created by this company.

      More welfare for the rich.

  21. Avatar

    John Reply Report comment

    March 7, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    They should set aside the north end for this project and it would solve two issues at the same time.

    • Avatar

      savage Reply Report comment

      March 8, 2016 at 8:46 am

      finally a smart response

      • Avatar

        Savage Reply Report comment

        March 8, 2016 at 9:10 am

        Logistics makes the South the best option. But you’re right the smell is going to be bad.

        • Avatar

          Katie Reply Report comment

          March 8, 2016 at 9:47 am

          Did Armour smell? Do people complain about Hormel?

          • Avatar

            Savage

            March 9, 2016 at 5:45 pm

            Armour is not a kill plant. Maybe with technology today they have the ability to reduce the smell.

        • Avatar

          Katie Reply Report comment

          March 8, 2016 at 9:49 am

          There is no worse smell than the wood pulp plants in Canada. We had to leave a hotel at 1 am because we were on the verge of vomiting. I can’t imagine living in one of those towns.

          • Avatar

            Reality Check

            March 8, 2016 at 10:05 am

            Ditto: No more overnights in International Falls for me