KANKAKEE — An expansion at Momence’s Van Drunen Farms is prompting officials to enlarge a local enterprise zone, an area where tax incentives are available for business investment.
Van Drunen is requesting an expanded enterprise zone because of a “substantial investment being made to further their operations,” said Ben Wilson, Kankakee County’s transportation and economic development project coordinator.
Wilson said he couldn’t say how many millions Van Drunen is investing or how many jobs will be added. For the project to happen, Van Drunen needs the enterprise zone expansion, he said.
Wilson was speaking to the Kankakee County Board on Tuesday, asking members to approve the expansion.
Before the issue came up on the board’s agenda, County Board chairman Andy Wheeler, R-Kankakee, announced he would walk out of the room during that portion of the meeting because his employer is involved. He is Van Drunen’s vice president of marketing.
The county board unanimously approved the enterprise zone request.
It needs the approval of the county, Manteno, Momence, Hopkins Park and Grant Park. All have signed off, except Grant Park, which is expected to take up the matter next week.
Van Drunen Farms, a food processing company, employs 720 workers, according to the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County. It sells wholesale as an ingredient supplier to other food processors or packers.
Van Drunen Co-President Jeff Van Drunen couldn’t be reached for comment.