WEVER, Iowa (WGEM) -- The largest capital investment project in the history of Iowa could bring more than 100 new jobs to Lee County.
The Iowa Economic Development Board announced a plan Friday to invest more than $1 billion in a new fertilizer plant outside of Wever. The new plant is expected to bring 165 new permanent jobs to Southeast Iowa, as well as generate as many as 2,000 temporary construction jobs.
It's big news not only for Lee County officials, but for residents of Wever, a town of about 1,000 people.
"This will bring a lot of good paying jobs and the spillover into other counties and into Western Illinois and Northeast Missouri will be really big. It'll be really good for Lee County," said Ernie Schiller with the Lee County Board of Supervisors.
It's good news for a county that needs a positive outlook on the employment front. Lee County has had one of the highest unemployment rates in Iowa for years and Lee County officials say 165 jobs is only the beginning.
"There will be some spillover, for sure. Anytime you have 165 jobs which is what I think is projected, there will be carry overs and trickle down jobs that will be necessary to support those people," Schiller said.
Some residents say the economy has been a little rough on the town of Wever, but this could be exactly what the area needs.
"I think it's been a little slow. With the business and everything people just don't have the money to do anything so maybe this will bring us all back up," said Wever resident Carolyn Anderson.
And while it may be hard to see now, officials are hoping this empty field could go a long way in fixing Lee County's problems.
Officials say there's still a lot of planning that needs to be done and its too early to tell just when this project will start to take shape.
As part of Iowa's economic development plan, the state is also planning financial assistance to three other Iowa projects, including a $25.8 million redeveloping of the Fairway Shopping Center in Burlington.
Iowa's total capital investment will add up to $1.3 billion and will add a total of 254 new permanent jobs to the state.
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