|Kelley Bean to expand Gering plant: Land deal given nod by council|
|September 24, 2015 Jerry Purvis|
Kelley Bean, part of the Gering business community since 1935, plans to expand its plant after city council members approved a land swap to open up the property for construction.
Council member Dan Smith, who is chief agronomist at Kelley Bean, recused himself from the vote. But after the special council meeting at noon on Tuesday, he said the property exchange will benefit both parties.
In 2012, the city accepted a donation of almost two acres of land along 10th Street immediately north of the railroad tracks, along with a number of vacant buildings.
The property is located behind the former Jirdon Agri-Chemical Co. and was later used as a fertilizer manufacturing and storage facility for WESTCO, which had earlier purchased the Jirdon holdings.
In making the donation, WESTCO officials said they needed to get rid of the vacant buildings for tax purposes.
“Part of the WESTCO property was in the middle of the Kelley Bean property,” Smith said after Tuesday’s meeting.
“They’re looking at building a new facility and it would work better to be on the other side and to the east of the railroad tracks.”
Under the exchange agreement, Kelley Bean will assume ownership of a portion of the former WESTCO property on the south side of the tracks and Gering would receive a piece of land along 10th Street, on the north side of the track and the west side of the railroad spur that runs through the area.
“Kelley Bean has already built two new bins and a receiving station on their property,” Smith said. “They want to clean up the area and start work on building a new processing mill by this winter.
About 10 Kelley Bean employees will be transferred to Gering to operate the mill once it’s completed. The new mill will also become a major customer for Gering’s electricity.
Speaking as a council member, Smith said the city plans to demolish the old elevator buildings along 10th Street and either turn the area into greenspace or develop the property for commercial use.