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Food company delays plans for $28M Indiana plant

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A food-processing company says it has delayed the reopening of a closed factory near Cambridge City, about 60 miles east of Indianapolis.

Sugar Creek Packing Co. officials say the delay is needed because of changes in construction plans for a sewage-treatment plant at the former Really Cool Foods plant.

Project manager Timothy Sparks told the Palladium-Item of Richmond that the company's retrofitting of the factory is going according to schedule. Sugar Creek, based in Washington Court House, Ohio, had planned to begin limited production in July 2014, but has delayed plans until early 2015.

Instead of building an addition to the 77,000-square-foot existing plant, a separate building is now planned for the sewage treatment plant and a remote engine room for ammonia refrigeration, said Timothy Sparks, the company's project manager.

"This will be our largest campus as a company," Sparks said. "We need the additional space for production."

Really Cool Foods, also known as RCF Kitchens Indiana LLC, had about 130 workers when it shut down in 2011 after Chapter 11 bankruptcy, having never come close to its plans for having 1,000 employees.

Sugar Creek bought the factory last year and announced plans to spend $28 million to expand the facility, making room for 400 workers by 2016.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Sugar Creek up to $2.85 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $175,000 in training grants based on the company’s job-creation plans.

The company focuses on protein-related products that include pork and turkey bacon, bacon bits, meatballs and pizza toppings, in addition to sandwiches for retail and wholesale channels, meal components and made-to-order “specialty” products.

Sugar Creek has also bought an additional 90 acres west of its present site for possible future expansion.

"If we need the additional space it would be available," Sparks said. "In the meantime, our intention is to lease that land for farming."

Wayne County Commissioner Denny Burns said he was excited by Sugar Creek's plans for the factory.

"They have already expanded their original plans twice," Burns said. "We're working very closely with them so if they need any permits or advice we are there for them."

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