The Leavenworth County Development Corporation Board of Directors has voted to officially support a proposed Tyson Foods poultry complex south of Tonganoxie.

The Leavenworth County Development Corporation Board of Directors has voted to officially support a proposed Tyson Foods poultry complex south of Tonganoxie.

LCDC officials now plan to draft a letter of support for the project.

Officials with Tyson Foods announced last week plans to build a $320 million poultry complex south of Tonganoxie. The plant should employee about 1,600 people.

LCDC was involved in helping to bring the project to Leavenworth County.

The project has faced opposition from residents from the time it was officially announced Sept. 5 in Tonganoxie.

The project was discussed Thursday during a meeting of the LCDC board.

Officials from Tyson Foods have been meeting one-on-one this week with people in the county including landowners and business leaders, LCDC Executive Director Steve Jack said.

Jack said officials from the company also have been trying to figure how to have town hall meetings.

Jack said he traveled with community leaders Wednesday to Union City, Tennessee, where Tyson Foods operates a poultry plant. The trip was paid for by Tyson Foods.

Jack said group from Leavenworth County met with various people from the Tennessee community.

“They were very positive,” he said.

Outside of a production facility in Union City, Jack said he could not smell an odor. He acknowledged there was an odor inside the plant.

“But it’s not overpowering,” he said.

Jack said the facility proposed for Leavenworth County will be more state-of-the-art than the one in Tennessee.

“The facility here will be the best facility in the Tyson family,” he said.

Mike Reilly, who serves on the LCDC board, said some local elected officials may feel uncomfortable about going on a trip paid for by Tyson Foods. He made a motion that LCDC set aside up to $5,000 to pay the travel expenses of elected officials who would like to visit the plant in Union City, Tennessee.

The motion was approved.

Reilly later asked if the executive committee of the LCDC board had voted to support the Tyson Foods project in Leavenworth County.

LCDC President David Schroeder said the group had not met since last week’s announcement by Tyson Foods. He suggested members of the board could vote on the matter as they were meeting Thursday.

LCDC Treasurer Josh Hoppes said not taking a stand on the issue sends a message.

Vernon Fields, a member of the Basehor City Council, attended Thursday’s meeting. He noted that LCDC’s name had been mentioned during last week’s announcement about the proposed plant. He said this made it sound as if LCDC is in support of the project.

LCDC board member Brian Habjan made the motion for the organization to support the project. He recommended the creation of a letter of support based on facts known by LCDC members.

The motion was unanimously approved.

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