East Moline may be destined to become hog processor to the region. While that may not sound as poetic as nearby Chicago’s old nickname — hog butcher to the world — state and local authorities are still pleased. In a June 2006 announcement, they highlighted the positive while describing a deal for a new 620,000 square-foot pork processing plant on a 116-acre site.
The plant has been planned by Triumph Foods, which expects to invest $135 million in the project. According to Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s office, the project will create 350 new jobs by 2009 and a total of 1,000 new jobs by 2010. According to the Institute for Decision Making at the University of Northern Iowa, the new plant could generate 2,900 spin-off and support jobs, with an estimated $437 million dollar impact on the local economy in the first year.
State and local officials assembled an incentives package that totaled almost $16 million. The package included tax credits over the next ten years based on job creation, a development grant to East Moline to improve water and sewer infrastructure, job training funds, and other incentives, including investment tax credits and tax exemptions. In addition, East Moline approved $20 million in tax increment financing assistance, which will help pay for an on-site sewage pre-treatment facility and off-site water and sewer improvements.
Rick Hoffman, CEO of Triumph Foods, cited the location’s intrinsic advantages: “With its large, available workforce, central location, and great road and air access, the Quad Cities region is an excellent fit for us and was the best choice for our new, state-of-the-art processing plant.”
Local officials recognized concerns over the project’s potential drawbacks. “We are excited to be working with a modern facility that will implement best practices, ultimately producing minimal environmental impact while providing an important economic boost to the community,” said Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott. “We will work to guide Triumph and East Moline through the regulatory process to operate in both an environmentally and community-friendly way.”