Spiritwood greenhouse project planning period extended

The Spiritwood Energy Park Association extended a memo of understanding with Houweling Tomatoes for the start of a planned 30-acre greenhouse project at Spiritwood.

The memo of understanding for constructing a greenhouse between Houweling Tomatoes and the Spiritwood Energy Park Association has been extended to Sept. 30. This photo shows a Houweling greenhouse in Utah in operation. Submitted photo
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The Spiritwood Energy Park Association Board of Directors approved an extension of a memo of understanding regarding a planned greenhouse project during a special meeting Friday.

SEPA is a partnership between Great River Energy and the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. that operates an industrial park and rail loop at Spiritwood, N.D. The memo of understanding with Houweling Tomatoes called for construction to begin by March 31 on a 30-acre commercial greenhouse at the industrial park.

The new extended memo of understanding calls for construction to start by Sept. 30, 2021.

Connie Ova, CEO of the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp., said the extension would allowing Houweling more time to complete engineering work for the project.

Rich Garman, project manager for SEPA, said during his report that coronavirus travel restrictions had made it difficult for Houweling Tomatoes personnel to visit the site.


The greenhouse project was announced last fall with a tentative groundbreaking scheduled for this spring and completion by the fall.

When complete, the greenhouse would have about 30 acres of growing space under glass and produce tomatoes and cucumbers that could be market around the upper Midwest.

The project recently received a $500,000 renewable energy grant through the North Dakota Department of Commerce. The greenhouse will use waste steam from Spiritwood Station, an electrical generating plant located adjacent to the SEPA industrial park, and carbon dioxide from Dakota Spirit AgEnergy, a fuel ethanol plant located within the industrial park.

In other business, the SEPA Board of Directors heard a report on a tree-planting project planned for this spring to help prevent snow accumulations on the rail loop and discussed financial adjustments to be included in the 2020 audit.

Another special SEPA board meeting is planned in the next weeks to approve the audit.

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