KS communities compete to bring in Tyson chicken plant

RENO COUNTY, Kan. Reno County and South Hutchinson are among the latest communities trying to lure a large Tyson chicken processing plant to Kansas.

Reno County commissioners Tuesday signed the letter of support for the Tyson Foods project.

Tyson was going to bring the plant and its near-1,600 jobs to Leavenworth County near Tonganoxie, but many in the community opposed the plant, citing concerns about its impact on air and water.

Leavenworth County leaders pulled their support for incentives for the plant and Tyson said it would look elsewhere.

The Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce says a 150-acre site south of South Hutchinson meets requirements for the project. The chamber says the near-1,600 jobs and $320 million investment would have a major economic impact on south central Kansas.

They plan to submit a form request to Tyson Wednesday (Sept. 27.)

Reno County and South Hutchinson aren't alone in the bid to draw the Tyson Plant.

Tuesday, the Saline County Commission considering a site in Cloud County signed a letter in support of an approxmate-$300 million project to bring a new Tyson chicken plant to neighboring Cloud County.

"We're competing with 20 other communities in Kansas that we know of, not to mention the other states," South Hutchinson City Administrator Matt Stiles.says.

Tuesday, Reno County, along with several other counties in the state, formally added its name to the growing list of communities that want Tyson.

"If they're considering putting (a plant) here, definitely do it," Reno County resident Danny Lizalde says. "We need it."

Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce member Debra Teufel says the county "is in lock-step with Tyson and supports them and the jobs they bring to the community today."

In Reno County, Tyson already employes a few hundred people from the area at a pepperoni plant.

Teufel says the chamber hasn't mapped any specific incentives for Tyson because they are in the early stages of discussion.

"Obviously, each one of us is going to try to be as competitive as possible for out taxpayers," Teufel says.