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Ground was broken today for Heartland Pet Food Manufacturing Company, a subsidiary of Blue Buffalo.
Rob O’Brian, president of the Joplin Chamber of Commerce, says wages for the 130 initial jobs will be above average for the county.
According to O’Brian, Joplin wanted to be sure it was able to compete with other states and cities trying to attract the company. He says the city offered Heartland a tax abatement on the building through the enterprise zone and a level of tax abatement on the equipment. The Industrial Development Authority, which owns Crossroads Industrial Park where the company will be located, substantially reduced the cost of the land. And O’Brian says MODOT will provide the company direct access to I-44…
"The park has access onto US 71, which will become I-49 and then, in a half a mile, it goes to I-44, but they wanted to be able to move their trucks directly on and off I-44, and so, MODOT committed to put an interchange in at the park location. That's about a $10 million project."
He says the new project will help in the city’s tornado recovery efforts…
"The ability to make an announcement like this on a major new project is just a great emotional lift for our community that's rebuilding from the tornado 16 months ago."
The total cost of the project is more than $80 million. Heartland Pet Food Manufacturing Company is expected to open in about 18 months. O’Brian says they plan to expand and add even more jobs in the future.