Public forum scheduled on Tyson Food proposal in Tonganoxie - KCTV5

Public forum scheduled on Tyson Food proposal in Tonganoxie

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Three state lawmakers who represent parts of Leavenworth County have scheduled a public forum Friday to discuss a proposal from Tyson Foods Inc. to build a massive poultry processing complex near Tonganoxie. (KCTV5) Three state lawmakers who represent parts of Leavenworth County have scheduled a public forum Friday to discuss a proposal from Tyson Foods Inc. to build a massive poultry processing complex near Tonganoxie. (KCTV5)
TONGANOXIE, KS (KCTV/AP) -

Three state lawmakers who represent parts of Leavenworth County have scheduled a public forum Friday to discuss a proposal from Tyson Foods Inc. to build a massive poultry processing complex near Tonganoxie.

The $320 million plant is expected to bring 1,600 jobs to a town of about 5,000 residents.

Sen. Tom Holland and Reps. Jim Karleskint and Willie Dove will co-host the forum at 6:30 p.m. at Chieftain Park off Main Street in Tonganoxie. It is the first town-hall-style meeting that's been planned.

Representatives and senators will be leading the discussion. They have asked community members to submit questions in advance to cut down on repetitive concerns.

A representative with the city told KCTV5 News that no one from leadership is planning to attend.

The forum comes amid opposition to the plant from Tonganoxie residents.

People in Tonganoxie have been filling the seats at City Council and County Commission meetings for the past two weeks. Upset about the Tyson plant, they are still looking for answers. Many people are asking for more information about the project.

Many people in the crowd ahead of the event were wearing "No Tyson in Tongie" t-shirts. There was also a booth set up where people could write a postcard to an elected official and urge them to prevent the project.

People present at the public forum on Friday said they want to talk about the way the plan will devalue homes, bring smells, impact air quality, and cause environmental problems.

They also believe the project would overwhelm the school district by perhaps doubling its size, as well as overwhelm the police department and fire department.

“How would bringing Tyson Industries and the associated smells and the toxic waste that comes from the plant, how would that attract other businesses?” said Ted Ward. “My question is what are you thinking? Seriously, what are you thinking?”

"We need to look at the historical facts on this company and what does it do to a community, the environment and society as a whole," said Bryan Zesiger. "What have they done over the last 10 years throughout the United States?"

“Up to this point, many of our elected officials have been for it when our residents have not," said Mike Ryan. “We’re really the people who are going to have to handle this on the day-to-day."

Residents also are upset that discussions about the proposal were kept secret until it was announced last week.

Supporters point to the jobs and money the plant is expected to bring in.

There will be coverage of what happened at the town hall meeting at 10 p.m. on KCTV5 News.

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