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Wisconsin Rapids may get ethanol plant

WISCONSIN RAPIDS --The city of Wisconsin Rapids could get a much-needed economic shot in the arm from a proposed new ethanol plant.

Mary Jo Carson, Wisconsin Rapids mayor, has been contacted by Third Coast Biofuels, a Wisconsin based company, which says the city is one of several locations that has everything that's needed for an ethanol plant.

She says of the sites they identified have rail service, highway infrastructure, corn availability, electric power and natural gas.

Carson says the $70 million dollar plant would provide produce 100 million gallons of ethanol a year and provide both good paying jobs and a market for local corn growers.

She says that's welcome news in a city that's been hit hard by downturns in the paper industry and the volatile cranberry market. The plant would occupy 40 acres on the city's east side, and Carson thinks the environmental impact on nearby homes will be minimal.

Carson says they've been told that the odor from the plant is the odor of bread baking, so from an environmental standpoint they are very friendly to their neighbors and don't seem to bother anybody very much.

Carson says local support for the project is critical, and the initial response from the business community has been positive.

If no local opposition develops, and there are no regulatory glitches, the new ethanol plant could be up and running in Wisconsin Rapids in two years.