Local officials initially passed on submitting potential sites for a proposed pet food plant. But two local industrial parks were submitted for consideration after an official with the pet food company indicated an odor from the plant can be mitigated or even eliminated.

Local officials initially passed on submitting potential sites for a proposed pet food plant. But two local industrial parks were submitted for consideration after an official with the pet food company indicated an odor from the plant can be mitigated or even eliminated.

Steve Jack, executive director of the Leavenworth County Development Corporation, reviewed the project Thursday during a meeting of the LCDC Board of Directors.

Jack also reviewed other business prospects including a site search for relocating agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The name of the pet food company has not been released, which is not unusual in cases in which companies are doing site searches.

Jack referred to the pet food plant project as Project Forward.

The project involves a company that is looking for between 25 and 35 acres or a facility that is between 400,000 and 500,000 square feet.

The project initially came to the attention of LCDC through the Kansas City Area Development Council.

LCDC was informed the plant could produce a mild odor.

The cities of Leavenworth and Tonganoxie own new business parks. But officials from those cities passed on submitting the parks for the project.

Jack said he then received a phone call from a representative from the pet food company.

Jack told the company representatives that local officials had passed on the project because the business parks are near neighborhoods.

Jack said he was told there are things that can be done to mitigate the odor, and there are additional measures that can be taken to eliminate the odor.

Jack said the Leavenworth Business and Technology Park and Tonganoxie Business Park were submitted for consideration.

“We’re not committing ourselves to anything,” said Leavenworth City Manager Paul Kramer, who attended Thursday’s LCDC meeting.

He said the pet food company has a similar plant in Topeka.

Jack said local officials do not want to cram something down the throat of a community.

“That is not our job,” he said.

On the other hand, he said it is important to work with companies to see if they can make a project work.

“We need to make sure it is going to be a good fit,” he said.

Last year, Tyson Foods proposed building a $320 million poultry complex south of Tonganoxie. The plant would have employed about 1,600 people.

But the proposal faced local opposition. And Leavenworth County commissioners rescinded a resolution that had expressed an intent to issue industrial revenue bonds for the project.

Tyson Foods later announced plans to build a poultry complex in Tennessee.

Jack said Thursday that Leavenworth and Tonganoxie officials passed on submitting the industrial parks for another project. This project, named Project M2, involves a food processing company looking for a site for a plant.

Jack said the company wants to operate an open pretreatment lagoon, which local officials did not think would be appropriate.

Jack said the Leavenworth and Tonganoxie business parks have been submitted for consideration for new U.S. Department of Agriculture facilities.

The USDA has announced it is looking for new homes for the department’s Research, Education and Economics program and National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The USDA is looking for locations outside of Washington, D.C.

Jack said the project could bring 620 high-paying jobs.

Jack said it is no secret that the Kansas City area is being looked at for the relocation of these agencies, but other areas also are being considered.

He said the two Leavenworth County sites were submitted late last month.

“We have not heard back yet about the next steps,” he said.

Also Thursday, Jack reviewed some of the work performed by a marketing firm that was hired by LCDC.

One of the results from the marketing plan is a new logo for LCDC.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR