Kennett citizens upset about building sale

By Christy Millweard - bio | email

KENNETT, MO (KFVS) - Some Kennett residents are upset about a new business coming to town. They aren't mad about the industry coming, they are frustrated with how much the company paid to join the Kennett community.

Kennett Mayor Roger Wheeler says a building in the industrial district on the north side of town has been vacant for about five years.

He says the city invested about $500,000 dollars into the land, and about $500,000 dollars into the building.

"Four years as Mayor all I've heard is, what are you going to do with that building?" said Wheeler.

He says he sold it to Frey Farms for just about a third of that total at a little more than $300,000 dollars.

People in Kennett say that is a waste of their tax dollars, and they want to see a business in there that will pay a similar amount to the cost.

Mayor Wheeler says even though the cost is low, he thinks this is a good move for the city because it will bring jobs to the area.

"Well I think you've got to look at the long range benefit otherwise if over time that brings $20 million dollars a year of agriculture industry to this area that's worth a lot," said Wheeler.

"I understand his viewpoint as far as putting business in here, everybody wants business in back in Kennett, and if the company that's coming in here could have offered 100, 200 full time jobs, I don't think it would be as sour," said Kennett resident Robert McMahon.

Frey Farms is out of Southern Illinois, and says the branch in Kennett will be almost identical to a current one the company has in Poseyville, Indiana. The company is a year round supplier of fresh produce. During the presentation at the Kennett City Council meeting Tuesday night, Sarah Frey Talley, the company's CEO, said they will offer about 250 seasonal jobs, meaning about 5 months out of the year, and approximately ten permanent office jobs.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved