Holland's Family Cheese in Thorp looking to expand within city limits
THORP (WQOW) - A local cheese maker wants to relocate and expand in Thorp, but not everyone is thrilled.
There were more than 100 people at the hearing session on Thursday night. Some people were waiting outside the room just to get their turn to speak.
Holland's Family Cheese wants to buy 100 acres of land within city limits to relocate and expand its cheese production facility.
"We would like to build a creamery with an attached dairy. And the whole part of this whole process is we have to get it rezoned for general use, general industrial use," says General Manager Kimberly Arbuck.
Those plans have some citizens concerned. They're worried about the dust and odor that would come with a farm being so close to residential areas.
"I know a girl who was born and raised on a farm who died from asthma and it happens. I just don't like to see triggers that close to the schools," says Thorp citizen Dean Micke.
Others are welcoming the relocation and expansion, even some who have their own business.
Thorp resident Lana Ciolkosz is a small business owner and she says, "Even if I lose a few customers I think I would stand to gain so much more from the people they draw in."
One thing many people agree on: there are still questions that need to be answered.
"If you have a question, we prefer a smile and a handshake over a cup of coffee than all of the rumors that are flying around," says Arbuck.
The thing many citizens seemed most excited about was the potential of drawing more visitors to Thorp.
"So our hope is that it is a win-win situation for the whole community" says Arbuck.
Another thing people seemed to like the idea of was the potential the new farm location has as a place to educate people on agriculture.
No decisions were made Thursday night.
There are still a number of things that have to happen; the planning commission will come up with a recommendation on a zoning amendment that will be referred to the city council. Then, the business will have to apply for a conditional use permit.
If you're wondering about jobs: Holland's Family Cheese employs 11 right now in Thorp. The city says, as of now, the plans would be to add a few new jobs with the expansion.