RANTOUL - It looks as if Rantoul's pork processing plant is going to be completed after all.
Meadowbrook Farms, a farmer co-op, cleared its largest remaining hurdle Wednesday when state officials announced they were proceeding with a $1.7 million Capital Development Board grant to pay for a pretreatment facility for the co-op's new plant that's now under construction at the Rantoul Industrial Park.
The facility will treat wastewater at the site before it enters Rantoul's municipal sewage system, according to Rantoul Assistant Public Works Director Pete Passarelli. Former Gov. George Ryan announced Rantoul was getting the grant last fall, but new Gov. Rod Blagojevich held up issuing the check after he took office because of concerns over the state budget.
Rantoul Mayor Neal Williams said the Blagojevich administration wanted to review the grant request.
Since the Capital Development Board gave the money to Rantoul, Village Administrator Gary Adams said the village will construct the facility at the pork plant site.
Adams said village and co-op officials will decide later this year whether the village will operate the pretreatment plant or whether the village will lease the facility to Meadowbrook Farms and have the co-op operate it.
The $25 million pork plant is expected initially to employ 210 people when it opens late this year.
"This means new job opportunities for the people of Rantoul and the surrounding communities," Williams said. "This is a real shot in the arm with regards to economic development for Rantoul."