The Austin School Board voted at a special meeting Monday to rescind a decision from a meeting on March 13th to deny a 15-year tax abatement request from Hormel Foods for the construction of a $5 million, 130-slot, market-rate childcare facility, and on a vote of 5-2 Monday evening, the board approved the request for a term of five years. Hormel Foods had been seeking the abatement to help with what they project to be an operating loss for the 13,000+ sq. ft. facility, which will employ up to 23 full-time positions and will be constructed at the corner of 5th Street and 17th Avenue NW. The Austin City Council and the Mower County Board of Commissioners had previously approved the request at recent meetings, but the Austin School Board, citing such concerns as the length of time in the request and the fact that the request is not for residential property, had previously denied the request on a vote of 5-2.
Board members Carolyn Dube, Cece Kroc, Peggy Young, Don Leathers and Evan Sorenson voted in favor of the request, while board members Kathy Green and Carol McAlister voted against. The construction of the facility is expected to last 12-16 months once ground is broken, which could take place in late April or early May.