What could Eagle Grove look and be like after Prestage opens? ISU Extension speaker tries to give public an idea

It was repeated more than once at the public meeting held last Thursday at RBMS auditorium. “These are not meant to be predictions, and in no way represents what will happen but only what could happen.” And even though the approximately 70 residents that attended might not have gotten a clear picture just yet, they do have at least a better understanding of what the future could hold for Eagle Grove once the Prestage pork processing plant is running at full production. Even with a number of uncertainties ahead, one thing is certain: The city will change in some way once the plant opens.

According to speaker Dr. David Peters, Extension and Outreach Rural Sociologist, the question will ultimately be “What happens to a town of 3500 when you add (up to) 1000 new jobs?” But fi rst the numbers. Prestage is making a $255 million dollar investment in a 650,000 square foot facility over a 150- acre site. It will employ at least 900 initially, with the projection of up to 1000 employees at some point. Wages will range from $13 to $17 per hour.

“How will this change the town’s customs, character and community services, not just the economy,” said Peters. Information used for his study and presentation was taken from impacts of existing processing facilities in Denison and Columbus Junction, along with comparisons to an average city in Iowa. Questions from the audience were taken both during the presentation and for a brief time after. A question from someone asked, “Were these plants both in town or out?” Peters replied that one was within the city and the other was rural.

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