Today marks one year since the Farmland Foods fire in Albert Lea put 500 people out of work, including several north-central Iowans. Many of the former Farmland Foods workers have moved on but some are still collecting unemployment. The company says it’s waiting on insurance claims before deciding whether to rebuild in Albert Lea. Matters have been complicated by the company’s Chapter eleven bankruptcy filing a month ago. Many in Albert Lea would like the burned plant torn down. City officials say property values in that area have dropped. And still no word on rebuilding from what was once the city’s second largest employer. Farmland has sent the city blueprints for a new plant that would employ 700 people. But the company cannot confirm its plans. Company officials need to know how much damage and loss will be covered by their insurance companies and if the company can work its way out of Chapter eleven.
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