The executive director of the Leavenworth County Development Corporation said he considers a Tyson Foods proposal for a poultry plant near Tonganoxie to be a “closed” project.

The executive director of the Leavenworth County Development Corporation said he considers a Tyson Foods proposal for a poultry plant near Tonganoxie to be a “closed” project.

Steve Jack keeps track of the projects LCDC is involved in. Some of the projects are considered active. Others are considered closed.

Jack considers the poultry plant project to be closed following the announcement Tuesday that Tyson Foods is putting plans for building the $320 million facility in Leavenworth County on hold.

Doug Ramsey, group president of poultry for Tyson Foods, stated in a letter that the company “will prioritize the other locations in Kansas and other states that have expressed support.”

The proposed project in Leavenworth County has faced opposition from many area residents.

Tyson Foods officials have said the poultry complex would have employed about 1,600 people.

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

“These projects are ultimately the decision of elected officials and the people who elect them,” Jack said.

LCDC’s Board of Directors voted last week to formally support the Tyson Foods project. But Jack said LCDC does not have a vote on issues such as rezoning property for development.

Jack said he believes officials at Tyson Foods will explore other locations, as indicated in Ramsey’s letter, before they do anything else.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture has “heard from quite a few other communities (in the state) who are interested in being under consideration for this opportunity,” according to department spokeswoman Heather Lansdowne.

Tyson Foods already operates six other facilities in Kansas.

Citizens Against Project Sunset is an organization that is opposed to the poultry plant being located near Tonganoxie. Project Sunset was a code name used for the project before details of Tyson Foods’ plans were made public.

C.A.P.S. issued a news release Wednesday indicating its members were encouraged by the announcement that Tyson Foods is putting plans on hold. But the organization is urging vigilance among its supporters because the door to the project may remain open.

“Today we can smile briefly,” Jarret Pruitt said in the release. “Tomorrow we must wake up more committed and determined to continue this fight.”

Pruitt is a Tonganoxie resident and member of the C.A.P.S. governing board.

The decision by Tyson Foods to put plans for the Tonganoxie plant on hold came after Leavenworth County commissioners voted Monday to rescind a resolution of intent to issue industrial revenue bonds to support the project.

In his letter, Ramsey referred to the vote as a reversal of support by county commissioners.

Monday’s vote to rescind the resolution was 2-1. Commissioner Bob Holland, who is in favor of the project, voting against the motion.

Holland said Wednesday that he met with representatives of Tyson Foods. The commissioner believes Tyson Foods officials are not yet ready to abandon Leavenworth County, but they may be getting close.

Commissioner Clyde Graeber made the motion to rescind the resolution. Graeber said he wanted to start over and approve a resolution section by section.

Graeber also announced Monday that he is resigning from the commission later this month for health reasons.

Commission Chairman Doug Smith speculated Wednesday that Tyson Foods officials may be waiting to see who fills Graeber’s seat on the commission.

Republican precinct men and women from the commission’s 2nd District will select Graeber’s successor.

Smith argued Tyson Foods officials had been premature a couple of weeks ago when they announced plans to start construction on the poultry complex south of Tonganoxie. He argued additional action was required before construction could begin including rezoning the proposed site for the plant.

“That’s one step they skipped,” he said.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR