Bushel Boy

Chad Scrheck and Mason City, Iowa, City Administrator Aaron Burnett, (far right) and Mayor Bill Schickel and Marty Mensen of Alliant Energy take part in a ceremonial groundbreaking alongside representatives of the Bushel Boy building project in Mason City on Wednesday, Sept. 11. (Globe Gazette)

MASON CITY, Iowa — Three months after Mason City Mayor Bill Schickel announced on Facebook that an Owatonna, Minnesota-based business was looking to expand into town, ground was broken.

Bushel Boy officials, along with Mason City officials, broke ground on a $35 million, 50-acre facility Wednesday on land along 43rd Street SW, on the city’s far south side.

In a post on Facebook, the group made the announcement, which also noted that the development would bring about 50 full-time jobs to North Iowa.

According to a release, the ground-breaking commences Phase I of a three-phase project and entails development of a 16.5 acre high tech greenhouse.

Before the deal was entirely finalized, Bushel Boy President Steve Irland said that Mason City courted the company aggressively by offering new facilities to house technology and ease of access to utilities needed for their process.

Specifically, the city applied for a Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation to construct a two-lane road to serve as frontage for the facility and the city also established plans to extend water and sewer to the area.

Irland has previously said that the company, which does business with stores such as HyVee, Target and Whole Foods, was hoping to have everything up and functional by Summer 2020.

But, in the announcement, plans have shifted to October 2020, which would mean that the first harvest would be expected in December 2020.

Jeffrey Jackson is the managing editor of the Owatonna People's Press. He can be reached at 507-444-2371 or via email at jjackson@owatonna.com

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