(Waupun) The Waupun Common Council held a pair of public meetings yesterday (Wednesday) regarding a planned construction of a soybean crushing facility within the city of Waupun. Waupun has been selected to be the home of the states first soybean processing facility. About 15 residents attended each meeting which started with a short presentation by Waupun Mayor Julie Nickel. Right now, the soybeans are taken out of state to Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, or Minnesota and then are brought back in after processing. She says this is an exciting opportunity for the city and a strong strategic fit for the economic development plan that they finalized over a year ago.
Mayor Nickel explained that although it is now only becoming recently public knowledge that this is a project that has been in the works for nearly three years. She spoke to the potential impact of the project on the Waupun-area, saying that the facility has the potential to be a catalyst project as business who would supply the plant would look to the area as a prime spot for relocation or expansion which means more growth for Waupun.
Two of the primary concerns were regarding noise pollution and air quality, which City Alderman Pete Kaczmarski addressed directly talking about a visit he and others from the city council took to a similar facility out of state saying there was no odor that they detected when visiting the grounds of the facility. There was some steam being emitted but they did not smell anything. Noise was very minimal mostly from the trucks leaving the facility but nothing really from the plant itself.
The planned facility would occupy city owned land situated within the Waupun Industrial Park and could see traffic as high as 250 trucks and three rail cars per day at peak processing times. City Administrator Kathy Schlieve addressed these concerns stating there is a lot of conversation that needs to be had with the DOT and so that is not planned out right now. There are no plans yet but there will be a lot of engineering work to do with a likely new entrance and exit to the industrial park as a goal.
At this time an air permit as well as a developer’s agreement still needs to be approved before any work can begin, with more public information hearings to be scheduled as well. Early time frames indicate a late 2019 start to construction on the state-of-the-art soybean processing facility. Once operational, 39 full-time jobs are expected to be created with an annual estimated payroll of $2.2 million.