KRAFT PLANT Deal for factory forms basis for sewer service
This is one of several grants for LaTourette's district.
By STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
KINSMAN -- The new owners of the Kraft cottage cheese plant on Burnett-East Road plan to subdivide the factory and rent it to new businesses, a move that officials say could create hundreds of jobs.
Last week, local businessmen Richard Thompson and David French reached an agreement with Kraft to buy the 65,000-square-foot factory and about 140 acres, including a water well field and state-of-the-art water treatment plant.
"If anyone wants to come out here, the infrastructure is all in place," Thompson said. "It has all the infrastructure you need."
The new owners plan to give the treatment plant to Trumbull County, where it will be used to anchor new sewer service to Kinsman Center.
A $400,000 grant in a federal bill approved this month will be used for work on the treatment plant and to construct sewer lines to serve the area.
U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-14th, talked about the grant Friday at a press conference to highlight federal projects he has brought to the district.
The same bill, to reauthorize the Federal Economic Development Agency, also included grants for industrial parks in Orwell, Conneaut and Ashtabula, and for a 15-county new business development program based in Cleveland. The grants total $2.3 million.
"It really doesn't matter what party you belong to," said LaTourette, of Concord. "Jobs need to be on our minds."
At the press conference, David Sampson, EDA administrator, touted the Bush administration's record of job creation, citing 1.9 million jobs developed in the last 13 months.
"The trend lines are all showing sustained and steady [job] growth," he said.
This week, Trumbull County commissioners are expected to approve applying for a $190,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant toward extending a sewer line from the treatment plant about 3/8 of a mile to state Route 5.
Providing sewer service for the entire Kinsman area could cost about $5 million, said sanitary engineer Gary Newbrough.
Kraft has agreed to continue operating the treatment plant for another year even as ownership passes to the county, said Joseph Mayernick, executive director of Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County, which helped put the deal together.
A $250,000 payment from Kraft to Trumbull County for taking the plant, which had been part of discussions with Trumbull officials, however, is no longer on the table, he said.
The money would have represented a savings to Kraft over mothballing the plant, county officials say.
The sanitary engineer's office also must have some source of money to operate the plant until rate-payers are connected, Newbrough added.