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Singleteary needs new extension

State agrees, now up to Wells council

March 25, 2012
by Antonio Acosta - Register Staff Writer ( , Faribault County Register

The state's Department of Economic and Employment Development (DEED) is willing to give the owner of a meat-processing plant in Wells more time to repay a loan and create jobs.

Now, the Wells City Council must decide if it will give its blessing.

On Tuesday, Chuck Pettipiece of Pettipiece Associates in Mankato gave the city's Economic Development Authority board an update on Singleteary Food Solutions.

Article Photos

Steve Singleteary

Pettipiece has been hired to monitor progress on the project because the city no longer has a community development director.

Pettipiece says he met with Steve Singleteary earlier this month.

"He's had some problems, but has addressed them," he says.

In addition to having trouble paying back the loan, Singleteary is delinquent on property taxes totaling $1,824.

In the past, Singleteary has said unexpected infrastructure improvements to the plant has delayed the start of full production.

Pettipiece says two deadlines are fast-approaching.

Under an agreement with DEED, Singleteary Food was expected to have 53 working at the plant by next month. By meeting this employment goal, $100,000 of a $500,000 loan would be forgiven.

Pettipiece says DEED officials have agreed to extend the deadline to April 30, 2013.Also, Singleteary will not have to start making loan payments to the city's EDA until this December, which were expected to begin in May.

"These alternatives seem to be the most workable ones. It is what he would accept," says Pettipiece.

City Council members could decide whether to grant the extensions at their meeting tonight.

If anyone knows when the facility will be up and running, they aren't saying.

For the most part, city officials have been in the dark.

"Do we know where it's at out there? Is it on track?" asked EDA board member Bruce Mandler.

When Singleteary purchased the former Wells Co-Pack facility for his meat-processing venture, he received private, local and state funding.

He was awarded a $500,000 grant from DEED under the Minnesota Investment Fund program to help fund the start-up venture.

Wells acted as a "loan sponsor," meaning the funds would be repaid to the city and put into the EDA's revolving loan fund.

In addition to state funding, Singleteary Food received $150,000 from the city EDA's revolving loan fund that does not have to be repaid, and the Faribault County EDA contributed $100,000 for the project.

Singleteary officials in the past have said they hope the plant will eventually employ more than 200 in three to five years.



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