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Delayed Sugar Creek food plant may operate by next summer

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A food processing plant that's expected to bring 400 jobs to eastern Indiana should begin operations in July 2015, a top company official says.

Sugar Creek Packing Co. will invest $100 million in construction, equipment and land acquisition for the plant near Cambridge City, about 60 miles east of Indianapolis, where workers will process pork and chicken products, Chief Financial Officer Tom Bollinger told the Wayne County Council on Wednesday.

"The project is moving along well. The new building is almost completely enclosed," Bollinger said. "Thus far Wayne County has been a great community to work in."

Bollinger went before the council to ask for a slight restructuring of the company's bond agreement with the county, which the council approved, the Palladium-Item reported.

Sugar Creek, based in Washington Court House, Ohio, originally planned to begin limited production at the plant near Cambridge City last month, but pushed back the start of production last year so it could build a larger sewage treatment plant. The company's project manager said then that the Cambridge City plant needed the additional capacity for expanded production.

Bollinger had no information Wednesday on when hiring at the plant would begin.

Sugar Creek is moving into the former Really Cool Foods plant that had about 130 workers when it shut down in 2011, having never come close to its plans announced in 2007 for a 1,000-employee operation in Cambridge City's industrial park about 50 miles east of Indianapolis. Sugar Creek bought the factory through a U.S. bankruptcy court.

Sugar Creek is building a 270,000-square-foot addition to the existing 77,000-square-foot existing plant.

The company has purchased 90 acres just west of its present site for possible expansion, though none is currently planned, Bollinger said.

Sugar Creek currently operates five plants in Ohio and Kansas that employ more than 1,500 workers.

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