The pandemic has slowed progress of opening the Corn Plus facility in Winnebago, which has been closed since September 2019.
Economic Development Authority board members got an update Wednesday from the city’s EDA specialist Angie Stier.
“I’m waiting to get a response from an email I sent last week,” says Stier. “It’s been a slow response.”
When Mayor Scott Robertson asks Stier if there was any reason to be alarmed or concerned, she answers, “No.”
Stier says Greenfield Global of Canada is unable to send anyone to the facility because of the country’s strict travel restrictions.
Company officials have said that repairs and improvements to the nearly 30-year-old facility are needed before it re-opens.
“We are staying in contact and working to keep things moving forward,” Stier says.
Robert Dekker, vice-president of communications and public relations for Greenfield, tells Tripleanews.com company officials are hoping to visit the city and facility soon.
“The local support has been wonderful and we are excited to get started,” he says. “In fact, we are bringing on new employees this month, focused on permitting and making improvements to the plant. We’re still planning on a Fall startup.”
Since Greenfield announced its purchase of Corn Plus last October it has been a topic of discussion at monthly EDA meetings.
“It is very critical for the city of Winnebago. It would be a huge shot in the arm,” says Robertson. “We have to keep Winnebago afloat somehow.”
At the time of its closing, Corn Plus produced 49 million gallons of ethanol annually and employed about 40 people.
With headquarters in Toronto, Ontario, Greenfield operates four fuel distilleries to make it the largest ethanol producer in the country. In addition, it owns five specialty chemical and packaging plants and two “next-generation” biofuel and renewable energy research and development centers.