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Proposed meat processing plant could bring 65 jobs to Herkimer County

By GARY LIBERATORE

FRANKFORT, N.Y. (WKTV) - Two local men have put together a business plan to form a meat processing company called Full Circle Packing, and some Herkimer County legislators are hoping that company will be the first to break ground at the shovel ready 5S Business Park in Frankfort

One of those two men is John Zielinski of Marcy who says the vision is to build a large meat processing facility, like no other in New York State.

"The need is almost critical because there's not another full service beef processing facility of this size in the entire northeast until you get to Pennsylvania, where most of the cows from our area go now," Zielinski said. "And every mile a cow is transported, it loses weight and the risk of injury or death increases. And if a cow is injured or dead on arrival, it can't be used for food processing, so farmers lose money. Plus, having a local plant would cut down on the cost to farmers for transportation."

Herkimer County Legislature Chairman Vincent Bono says Zielinski and his partner, David Mondi of Utica approached county officials about three weeks ago regarding the possibility of building their proposed plant in the vacant Route 5-S Business Park in Frankfort.

Herkimer County Legislature Chairman Vincent Bono says the big reason for Zielinski and Mondi's interest is the low cost municipal power offered in the business park.

"It's less than three cents a kilowatt hour, so there's a lot of interest with not just this company but other companies," Bono said.

In a special session Thursday morning, the Herkimer County legislature voted in favor of applying for a $750,000 state economic development grant to help the new company build its plant in Frankfort, and with it, would come an estimated 65 jobs.

The vote was unanimous, in favor of the grant application, except for District 1 Legislator Gary Hartman who had hoped to have more time to look into the potential repercussions of having a meat processing plant on the site.

Hartman says he isn't sure whether having such a business would deter other more corporate type companies from wanting to locate there.

Bono says he doesn't believe so and also said this vote had to be done quickly, because the grant application deadline is in just four days, on August 12th.

Zielinski says the proposed plant would be a 40,500 square foot state of the art facility and would be USDA and European Union compliant.

He says the plan is to process up to 1,000 dairy cull and 1000 bob veal per week, and the salary for the estimated 65 employees would be between $13.00 and $15.00 per hour.

Zielinski says he and his partner are very hopeful, but cautiously optimistic, that all of the financing will come together.

He added, "The state portion is critical, but as we speak we are looking for, and negotiating with, lenders and investors."

Finally Zielinski says the construction of the plant would also create about 115 construction jobs with payroll of $3.5 million.

An answer from the state regarding the grant application is expected by the end of the year.

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