Tyson Foods has announced plans to build a $320 million poultry complex near Tonganoxie.

Tyson Foods has announced plans to build a $320 million poultry complex near Tonganoxie.

"Tonganoxie is the center of the Tyson universe today," said Doug Ramsey, group president of poultry for Tyson Foods.

He spoke Tuesday in Tonganoxie during an announcement about the plant.

The facility will produce pre-packaged trays of fresh chicken for grocery stores across the country. It is anticipated the facility will open in 2019. Company officials say the complex will employ about 1,600 people and contract with farmers and ranchers in the region to raise chickens.

The complex will include a processing plant, hatchery and feed mill. Tyson Foods officials say the facility will be state-of-the-art.

The company is looking to utilize two pieces of property. One, a 233-acre parcel, is located at 222nd Street and Hemphill Road. The other property, which is 87 acres, is located at U.S. 24-40 and Honey Creek Road, according to Leavenworth County officials.

Last week, Leavenworth County commissioners took action to support the project. But the name of the company involved in the project was not released until Tuesday.

Gov. Sam Brownback was on hand for Tuesday's announcement.

"I think this is a great project and a great day for Kansas," he said.

He said the Tonganoxie facility will be the seventh Tyson Foods plant in Kansas.

"They've been a good corporate citizen," Brownback said.

Not everyone who attended Tuesday's event was happy about the announcement. People who are opposed to the plant demonstrated outside of the building where the announcement took place.

As Ramsey spoke, someone in the audience could be heard saying, "We don't want it."

Ramsey said Tyson Foods will be holding town hall meetings to discuss the project in the next couple of months.

Among those who were demonstrating against the plant was Tonganoxie resident Jennifer Peak. Speaking after the announcement, Peak expressed concern about odors that may be produced by the plant as well as the impact the facility may have on property values in Tonganoxie.

She also argued that Tonganoxie does not have the resources to support the influx of people who may come to the community as a result of the plant.

Brownback said it is important to listen to people's concerns.

"Those concerns will be addressed," he said.

The governor said Tyson Foods will comply with all standards put forth by the state government.

County Administrator Mark Loughry also spoke during Tuesday's announcement.

He said the county government committed to a turnpike interchange and improvements to County Road 1, which is 222nd Street, about 11 years ago. He said county officials envisioned a project such as the Tyson Foods facility when they committed the County Road 1 and turnpike interchange project.

Tonganoxie Mayor Jason Ward also spoke of how his city had supported the County Road 1 and turnpike interchange project.

Ramsey said the area's transportation infrastructure and the available workforce are among the benefits of locating the new facility near Tonganoxie.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR