A Dubuque economic development official says the announcement that Hormel Foods will open a new plant in the city is further evidence of the revitalization of the Mississippi River town. Rick Dickinson the executive director of the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, says getting the plant to Dubuque is the culmination of months of work.
Dickinson says Hormel conducted a nationwide search for the plant to make microwave meals, and it will be the first plant constructed by Hormel in the 21st century. Dickinson says the city offered various incentives to bring the plant to town. Dickinson says the negotiations are still underway, but the package will include tax increment financing along with some state and local incentives.
The plant will create 180 new jobs. He says one of the reasons Hormel said it chose is its program to aggressively recruit workers called "Access Dubuque jobs-dot-com. (accessdubuquejobs.com)" Dickinson says they will draw workers from a 40-mile radius of the city, including Illinois and Wisconsin. Dickinson says this plant is one of many successes in the last year in growing Dubuque’s economy.
"Well, Dubuque’s been on a wonderful roll," Dickinson says, "we are three percent of the state’s population, yet we were responsible for 10-percent of all private sector job growth in the state of Iowa, which is a tremendous feet. We’ve been that or better for the last five years." Dickinson says the evidence of the turnaround in Dubuque is evident some of the people involved with Hormel who got their start in the city.
He says those people knew Dubuque in the 1980’s when things weren’t going very well and the city had ignored its riverfront, a decaying downtown and no industrial development. Dickinson says all those problems have been addressed in the last decade and show how you can "turn an economy around in rural America." Dickinson says construction on the 89-million dollar plant is set to begin this summer, with manufacturing operations to begin in November of 2009.