A celebration of new jobs in St. Charles - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

A celebration of new jobs in St. Charles

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Breaking ground Friday at Chattanooga Innovation Park Breaking ground Friday at Chattanooga Innovation Park
Bill Spitzer, St. Charles Mayor Bill Spitzer, St. Charles Mayor
North Star Foods on fire in April, 2009 North Star Foods on fire in April, 2009
 ROCHESTER, Minn (KTTC) -- About 250 jobs were lost after a fire destroyed a St. Charles business in April of 2009, but city officials broke ground Friday morning to make way to expand a local business and get some of those jobs back.

That 2009 fire wiped out North Star Foods, St. Charles' largest employer.  Firefighters from throughout southeast Minnesota area tried to contain the flames but the food processing plant was destroyed. The St. Charles Economic Development Authority along with the St. Charles City Council came together to develop a plan that would allow future commercial development.

Active Tool and Die will build the first structure in St. Charles' Chattanooga Innovation Park. Construction on the 14-thousand square foot facility started about 2 weeks ago.  The city's mayor said the expansion should bring with it 10 new jobs.

"They will be vacating their building in downtown St. Charles. But they're also looking at a tenant that is looking to come into that facility. Hopefully we'll get a second business into our community as well. We haven't finalized it yet but we're very hopeful," said St. Charles Mayor Bill Spitzer.

The $2-million expansion is expected to be completed by this December. Active Tool and Die has been operating in St. Charles since 1997. The company currently has nine employees, so the expansion will more than double its work force.



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