Originally Posted Online: May 13, 2013, 6:35 pm
Last Updated: May 13, 2013, 9:50 pm

Triumph Foods expanding in Missouri; East Moline plant on hold

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By Anthony Watt, awatt@qconline.com

Triumph Foods has announced an expansion of its Missouri plant, while its proposed hog-processing plant near East Moline still appears to be on hold.

The St. Joseph News-Press reported Thursday the St. Joseph, Mo.-based company is planning a $7.5 million expansion of its plant there. The expansion is expected to include an 11,000-square-foot addition to the plant and equipment purchases.

This would be the second expansion of the St. Joseph plant.In October 2012, Triumph announced a 30,000-square-foot expansion there estimated to cost $9.5 million to add more refrigerated space for export product.

An East Moline branch of Triumph first was proposed in 2005 near 172nd Street North and Barstow Road. In May 2007, Triumph bought the property, which later was annexed into East Moline.

The project has not yet broken ground.

There have been at least two pauses in the progress of the East Moline expansion.

The first came in 2008 when the economy took a dive.In early 2012, the economy showed signs of improvement, and the East Moline City Council voted to hire Kane, McKenna and Associates Inc., of Chicago, to negotiate an updated development agreement between the city and Triumph. Larry Anderson, president of East Moline Glass Co., donated the $10,000 to hire Kane.

But a few months later, city officials said Triumph again had placed the potential $200 million project on hold.

On Monday, East Moline Mayor John Thodos said he has had no contact with Triumph for about a year.

"We'll just sit in a holding pattern," he said. "Whenever they're ready, that's fine."

Representatives of the Quad Cities Chamber spoke with Triumph officials earlier this year, said Bill Martin, vice president for economic development at the chamber.At that time, Triumph said it had no plans for a new facility, Mr. Martin said.

A Triumph spokesman did not return a call for comment on Monday.

Reception of the East Moline project has been mixed.Supporters tout 2,500 direct jobs that could come if the plant is built -- as well as jobs created by support services, such as security, cafeteria and laundry services -- and increased tax revenue for the city.

Opponents argue a hog-processing plant could pollute the Rock River, destroy wetlands, emit bad odors and adversely affect the flood plain. They also are concerned about air pollution from particulate matter and bacteria caused by increased plant traffic, which, in one claim, could be as many as 250 semitrailers daily.