Agronomy plant plans get nod

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – Agriculture and cheese – two of the area’s major industries – both got a boost Thursday from the Plan Commission.

The commission approved plans for a new agronomy plant in the city’s southeast industrial park, along with an expansion of a cheese storage facility in the same industrial park.

The $4.5 to $5 million facility, a joint venture between Kettle- Lakes Co-op and Country Visions Co-operative, will be built on a 25-acre parcel at the northeast corner of the County PP and Willow Road in the city’s east side industrial park. It is expected to employ at least 30 people, the commission was told.

Officials from both co-operatives, along with the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad and Via Rail Engineering, outlined plans for the facility for the commission.

The development will consist of two buildings, with the larger building to the west being used for dry fertilizer and seed storage and distribution. The smaller building to the east would house offices and a small retail space.

Liquid fertilizer and liquid herbicides would be stored in separate, secure towers, Evan Nickodem of Via Rail told the commissioners.

The larger building would be designed to allow trucks to enter at one end, fill up with fertilizer and seed from inside storage bins, and then exit for deliveries.

The design includes a rail siding off the WSOR line that runs through the industrial park to allow for delivery of bulk fertilizer and seed by rail cars.

The siding would allow for delivery of up to 50 rail cars at a time, which could be left for downloading by the facility employees, and removal of empty cars.

“We allowed room for additional (rail) lines to the north if, in the future, we need to bring in more fertilizer cars,” Nickodem noted.

“Was the fact that you had access to a rail system here what brought you here,” commission member James Flanagan asked the representatives.

“That and a good road system,” Nickodem responded.

Commission member Ron Nicolaus agreed, noting that the traffic lights at the nearby intersection of County PP and State 57, as well as the four-lane north-south State 57, were also attractive features of the site.

Brad Peot, marketing manager for WSOR, told the commission the railroad would be able to handle the cars for the agronomy plant with its current trains on the Plymouth Sheboygan Falls line.

“This is going to be the most efficient way to service this facility, just more traffic on the same trains we’re already running,” Peot said.

The buildings will be wood siding with shingle roofs, Nickodem said.

The southwest corner of the property, at the intersection of Willow Road and County PP, will house test plots of different seed varieties that will be available at the new plant, officials noted.

The commission approved the plan subject to approval by Public Works Director Bill Immich of the storm water plan for the facility.

Kettle-Lakes is based in Sheboygan County, with existing facilities in Sheboygan Falls and Random Lake. Country Visions is based in Reedsville.

Groundbreaking for the new plant is planned for this spring, with opening in the spring of 2018.

In other action, the commission approved a land annexation and site plan for and addition to Oshkosh Cold Storage in the east industrial park.

The addition would be for another loading dock on the south side of the cheese storage facility, which is in the process of being expanded to double its size. The added dock would help serve the addition, according to company officials.

“This building is really, really big,” Immich commented. “You won’t notice this little addition (for the extra dock) on there.”

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