DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — The Decatur City Council approved many items on their agenda at Monday’s meeting, including a redevelopment agreement with Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) and an easement for ADM to capture carbon.

TCCA redevelopment agreement for former Prairie Farms plant

The city council approved a redevelopment agreement with TCCA to turn the former Prairie Farms plant located at Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. into Tillamook’s first Midwest ice cream plant.

The city said Tillamook plans to invest $50 million to retrofit the facility and acquire adjacent property for future expansion, bringing around 45 new jobs to Decatur. The development also advances the city’s Neighborhood Revitalization efforts as the city said this development will beautify the area.

Officials said the city will help in this development on their part by clearing antiquated structures from nearby property, cleaning the campus site, and providing other needed help during development. Tillamook plans to open in Oct. 2024.

ADM expanding carbon capture sequestration

The city council also approved an easement granting ADM the ability to sequester captured carbon 1.25 miles underneath land owned by the city. Officials said this process includes liquifying captured carbon dioxide and injecting it deep into subterranean seams, cracks, and voids in geological layers unique to the area. It will be stored under several thick and stable shale and rock layers.

ADM has been engaged in carbon capture sequestration (CCS) for a decade, mostly on sites they own. The city said that the company holds the only Class 6 injection well permit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the project. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Illinois Geological Survey at the U of I will also closely watch the project.

Additionally, the city said they reached out to its own CCS consultant, Intera, for additional analysis. Intera corroborated the federal government’s review and supervision of ADM’s CCS process and they predict very little risk from this expansion.

Officials said the CCS is another economic development incentive for the Decatur area. The city and the EDC have already been contacted by companies interested in locating in Decatur to obtain access to CCS. The city said ADM has agreed to pay $450 per acre under which it would inject and/or store CO2.

New childcare facility at former Wee Folks

The city council also approved an agreement with Love Learning and Laughter Daycare (LLLD) to provide another much-needed childcare facility in Decatur’s urban area. The city said they purchased the former Wee Folks building located on N. Jasper Street and will be improving the facility to house LLLD.

Officials said the city found that there is a significant shortage of childcare facilities in the community. Staff identified LLLD as an organization willing to restart a childcare facility at the Wee Folks building. The city plans to invest around $75,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) COVID-19 funds to revitalize the building.

Decatur water/sewer rate increase

The city council approved an adjustment to sewer rates after seeing rising costs to inflation recently. The city said that staff estimates new construction funded by the Water and Sewer Funds could increase by 20% in 2023.

Officials said the city council agreed to a 5% increase in sewer rates. The city council was reluctant to pass this increase on Decatur citizens but they said they heard from city staff that an increase is necessary to keep up with important capital infrastructure projects.

The city said a flat increase of 2.5% similar to last year would start to undermine the city’s ability to use water and sewer infrastructure as a major economic development recruiting asset. Additional actions on changes to the water ordinance were also tabled.