Officials from the Iowa Department of Economic Development were in Boone last night, to herald an expansion at Iowa-based Fareway Grocery Stores. DED Director Michael Blouin described the addition to the foodstore chain’s headquarters. A 250-thousand-square-foot refrigerated cooler facility for some of the food products — a 22-Million dollar project, creating 17 jobs that’ll pay over 32-thousand dollars a year. He says that’s a good wage level for Iowa, and is proud to be part of the incentive program that helped it happen. Blouin says the expansion is good for more than the town of Boone, or just Boone County. Blouin says it’s a sign of consumer strength showing across Iowa. He notes Fareway sells its merchandise not just in central Iowa, but across the state, and in bordering states. “They wouldn’t be expanding if the customer base wasn’t.” He says growing that customer base is what his agency’s all about. The expansion will break ground late this spring and is expected to be complete in the winter of 2006. Blouin says Fareway’s expansion project has been approved for tax benefits from the New Capital Investment Program.It’s a new capital investment program, he explains, that allows for the forgiveness of sales tax on the construction and equipment-related spending, and provides for a corporate income-tax credit against earnings. “The nice part of that is that they have to grow and create earnings in the next 7 years, to use these tax credits.” The incentive program could amount to a total of one-point-two-Million dollars for the company. Blouin calls that a win-win for the company and the state. Fareway’s headquartered in Boone and the chain employs 400 people there, 64-hundred in all at its 84 stores in Iowa, 2 in Nebraska and one in Illinois. The department of economic development will consider more job-creation projects at its board meeting Thursday in Des Moines.