Chippewa Falls

CHIPPEWA FALLS — Chippewa Falls is a finalist for a logistics supply company from outside the area looking at constructing a $6 million facility.

Charlie Walker, Chippewa County Economic Development Corp. executive director, said he is meeting with company officials again today to try to finalize the deal.

“I think we’re going to land it,” Walker said Wednesday. “I’m getting them quality-of-life data. We’ll see what happens. It is moving pretty fast.”

The name of the company hasn’t been revealed.

“Project 1212 is a company that is looking to build in western Wisconsin,” he said. “They are looking at a 125,000-square-foot facility. They are looking at a $6 million operation with 30 to 40 employees. We’re told this will help another company in the Chippewa Valley improve their efficiencies.”

Company officials already have met in closed session with the Chippewa Falls City Council to discuss the project.

“They narrowed their search to certified shovel-ready sites, and the Lake Wissota Business Park is certified ready,” Walker said. “This company needs to be in operation somewhere by Dec. 1.”

Chippewa Falls Mayor Greg Hoffman thinks the deal will come together.

“Everything I’ve seen has been really positive,” Hoffman said. “I think it’s very exciting. It’s another good opportunity, not just for Chippewa Falls, but the Chippewa Valley.”

In recent years, the business park has added the $69 million Mills Fleet Farm distribution center and Star Blends, an animal feed processing plant. In November, construction began on a $6 million OakLeaf Clinics medical center, and Nordson Extrusion Dies Industries is moving forward with a new 140,000-square-foot, $18 million facility in the business park this fall.

“Our economic development program is known throughout the nation for being able to handle these projects,” Walker said.

The county has seen population growth as people are moving nearby to work at these new facilities, he added. That will be another draw for this new company, he believes.

“Talent goes where the jobs are,” he said.

Chippewa County administrator Randy Scholz is pleased the county is considered a finalist.

“We’re always in competition with other communities,” Scholz said. “Any time we’re chosen, it’s great for the local economy. I think the reputation is out there, that we can get it done quickly.”

Because of the rapid growth in the park in the past few years, the county is now beginning to search for land to create another shovel-ready business park. The county allocated $90,000 in the 2018 budget to create a feasibility study, or strategic plan, on the possible location.

The 200-acre Lake Wissota Business Park was set up by the County Board in March 2000, when members voted to borrow $1 million from the State Trust Fund to develop the park; the county paid off that debt in 2005. The city built a number of roads through the industrial area. Some of the first companies to move into the park include Chippewa River Industries and General Beer Northwest distributing company.