Work on hatchery could start in June

An egg hatchery planned for the Thousand Islands International Agriculture and Business Park on Route 3 in Watertown could break ground in June. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Final details are being worked out to build a 50,000-square-foot egg hatchery in the agribusiness park on Route 3.

Developer Michael E. Lundy said Tuesday that he’s meeting next week with the Georgia company, CWT Farms International, to finalize the construction budget and design plans for the hatchery before a tentative groundbreaking scheduled for June 15.

“A lot still has to happen, but it’s very encouraging,” he said.

Plans call for the $15 to $16 million hatchery to be built in the Thousand Islands International Agriculture and Business Park.

Last month, CWT received $1.5 million from Empire State Development , which included a $1 million grant and $500,000 Excelsior Job Program grant.

Mr. Lundy said inflation has the developer reviewing construction costs to mitigate expected increases.

For instance, diesel fuel costs for construction equipment have increased from $3 a gallon to $5 for construction projects.

Mr. Lundy said heavy equipment at a construction site could use 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel a week, costing about $2,000 more than planned.

The cost of cement and steel have also increased in recent months, he said.

Despite last-minute concerns, Jefferson County Agriculture Coordinator Jay M. Matteson said “it’s a strong assumption” that construction should begin in mid-June.

The hatchery will hire about 17 employees for the day shift and more employees who would work at night. The company could add another shift in the future.

The facility will handle a maximum of 70,000 eggs a week.

Chicks will be hatched at the facility and then primarily head to Canada for the broiler chicken market before ending up as rotisserie chickens, the kinds that are sold at grocery stores.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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