By Gregg Hoffmann
SPARTA – Despite continued opposition by Century Foods, the Sparta City Council voted Tuesday to annex an 82-acre site where an ethanol plant could be built and approved an ordinance change needed for establishing the plant.
In a prepared statement, Century President Tom Miskowski said, “The City Council’s vote tonight is literally pushing Century Foods out of Sparta.”
Century is the largest employer in Sparta with about 350 workers. Many of those workers, and other Century supporters, packed the Council chambers Tuesday.
Officials of the Coulee Area Renewable Energy LLC (CARE), which is trying to build the plant, said they were glad the Council took the step Tuesday. The land still must be rezoned and a conditional use permit be granted. The Council could take those up in July.
CARE actually obtained approval of the plant site before, but had to reapply after Century won a court decision.
Tuesday’s votes were postponed from the June 19 Council meeting. Council members who favored the delay wanted to see if progress would be made when officials from the city, Century Foods and CARE met last Friday.
After a two hour meeting on Friday, all three parties agreed to meet again. No date was set.