St. Johns prepares for housing needs for dairy processing plant hires

ST. JOHNS, MI (WILX) -- When you are driving along 127 in St. Johns it's hard to miss the $555 million dairy processing plant that is taking shape.

The plant is expected to boost the economy in St. Johns (Source: WILX)

As the facility rounds completion, dairy processing companies are looking to fill more than 200 jobs.

A St. Johns city commissioner told News 10 she is confident in the economy boost these new hires will bring. The list of 260 positions available at the dairy processing plant literally goes from the ceiling to the floor, which is a visual that is bringing mixed emotions to St. John city officials.

"We are excited because we think that could bring a lot of people to St. Johns, it could bring new residents, but it is a little overwhelming-- that number," said Heather Hanover, a city commissioner.

The city said they are worried about finding places for these new hires to live.

"We have been looking at things to increase our housing stock, apartments and different zoning things that could allow us to have more density, more people in town," Hanover said.

She said the city is working with planning and zoning committees about future developments.

"We want to benefit the townships around us so we are hoping for more developments in the areas around us as well," Hanover said.

Construction began on the dairy processing plant two years ago and Hanover said they have already seen an impact in downtown developments.

"Because people know about this cheese plant coming in, we don't have very many vacant stores anymore and the ones that have come up for sale have sold pretty quickly so I think our downtown will look a lot better than in the past," Hanover said.

Twenty people have already been hired to work at the plant, and MWC, the company handling the hiring, said most of those people were from out of state and moved to the area.

"They will bring up the economy by living here, buying gas, buying food, even taking lunches," said Kate Studley, MWC human resource partner.

MWC is hosting a job fair on Tuesday to interview and reach out to potential employees in Mid-Michigan.

"We are working to make a pay scale that is competitive to this area. The fine-tuning of that is still in place and we will lock that down in the next couple of days," Studley said.

MWC is hiring positions ranging from business administration, human services, finance, skilled trades and more.

For more information on the job fair, click here.

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