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Economic development could create 530 jobs in Stutsman County

Three major economic development projects could lead to nearly $450 million in construction spending and 530 new jobs in the area over the next three years.

soybean aerial in cargil plant 072818
The former Cargil Malt plant at Spiritwood, as seen on the right side of this aerial file photo is set to be the new home of a soybean crushing facility. John M. Steiner / The Sun
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ADM became the first of possibly three projects in the Jamestown area to confirm it was moving forward Monday with its announcement of a $350 million soybean crushing plant near the Spiritwood Energy Park Association industrial park.

If the other two projects are greenlighted, the Houweling's Tomatoes greenhouse project planned for in the SEPA industrial park and the Buffalo City Park project in Jamestown, there could be about $440 million in construction activity in the area in the next two years.

Jamestown Mayor Dwaine Heinrich said he is confident all three will happen and the community will be able to fill the 500 or more jobs the economic development projects will create.

"There has been a lot of work done in the past," he said. "You never know if it will work until the end but there has been great research and planning done on all these projects."

ADM

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The ADM announcement Monday culminates about two years of planning and negotiations with ADM after the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. ended an exclusivity agreement with Minnesota Soybean Processors after it was unable to complete financing for a similar project.

The ADM plan calls for utilizing some of the Cargill Malt facility that has been vacant since it closed in
October 2018. When completed, the ADM plant will be the first crushing plant in North Dakota dedicated to processing soybeans. Output from the plant includes soybean meal and oil used for food, feed and processing into green fuels.

Plans call for the plant to accept soybeans for processing from local farmers in the fall of 2023.

When completed, the plant will employ about 70 people and has a construction cost of about $350 million.

Houweling's Tomatoes

The Houweling's Tomatoes greenhouse project was announced in August 2020. Plans call for putting about 30 acres under glass to grow tomatoes and other vegetables at the Spiritwood Energy Park Association industrial park. The greenhouse would be heated with waste steam from Spiritwood Station, a natural gas-fired electrical generating plant at the industrial park.

Initial plans called for construction to start in the spring of 2021 but planning work was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. Engineers from Canada, the home country of Houweling's Tomatoes, were restricted in crossing the border between the United States and Canada.

The Spiritwood Energy Park Association recently extended the memo of understanding with Houweling Tomatoes until Sept. 30.

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"I'm very intrigued by the greenhouse project," Heinrich said. "I don't think it is in competition with ADM."

If completed, Howeling's Tomatoes would employ about 100 people with a construction cost of about $35 million.

Buffalo City Park

The original proposal for the Buffalo City Park was made in November 2019 when local community advocate Brian Lunde contracted with Apogee Attractions to look at the possibility of expanding and revitalizing the Frontier Village.

A plan for an expanded entertainment and cultural park came from that original idea.

Organizers are planning to submit a request for investment to the North Dakota State Investment Board possibly as early as this summer. A change in North Dakota law by the recent Legislature sets a target of 10% of the Legacy Fund investments be made in North Dakota projects. The Buffalo City Park is likely to be one of the first considered under these guidelines.

If approved, plans call for the start of construction in the spring of 2022 with an operational date of sometime in the summer of 2024.

The Buffalo City Park would create about 360 jobs, although some would be seasonal. The project has a preliminary price tag of $60 million.

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Jobs

If the three projects are built, the total job creation impact is roughly 530 jobs when all are operational. There would also be a high demand for construction labor during the construction phases, according to Danica Chaput, workforce center manager for Job Service North Dakota.

"There will definitely be lots of opportunities in every sector," she said.

Heinrich said the community will need to increase its population.

"We need workers," he said. "There are issues that go along with that."

Currently, there are 446 job openings in Stutsman County. That is up 146 openings from last year at this time, according to Chaput.

There are 194 resumes of job seekers on file with Job Service, she said. That includes people who already have a job and some from outside the region who are seeking work in this area.

Heinrich said what he calls the "hotbed effect" could help Jamestown. This would occur if the community became known for having new businesses and opportunities for employment.

"It could attract more people to the area," he said.

People also tend to move in pairs or as families, Heinrich said. A wide variety of job opportunities may draw one person who works at the greenhouse, as an example, while others of the family work at Buffalo City Park or any of existing businesses in Jamestown with openings.

"We have to attract new people to live and work in Stutsman County," Heinrich said. "That is a much better problem to have than the alternative."

Buffalo City Park
Financing for the Buffalo City Park will likely be reviewed by the North Dakota State Investment Board late this summer. If approved, construction could start in the spring of 2022. Image courtesy of Apogee Attractions.

Related Topics: AGRICULTUREJAMESTOWN
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