BATAVIA — The town of Batavia is doing what it can to help two local groups move forward with projects at their facilities. HP Hood LLC, is planning a $21.62 million project to increase its production capacity and Upstate Niagara Cooperative wants to move ahead with a project of over $4 million to reactivate the former Alpina Foods facility.

Town Board members today approved resolutions to apply for a maximum of $750,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for each project.

HP Hood wants to increase production by installing a new filler line at its dairy processing plant at 5140 W. Ag Park Dr. in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. The company asked the town to apply for the funding from the state Office of Community Renewal (OCR). If the grant is awarded, the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) asked the town to give the funding to the GGLDC so it make the grant or loan to HP Hood.

“The project will create an estimated 56 new employment opportunities, including positions that will provide training to entry-level employees,” the resolution read.

Upstate Niagara plans to proceed with a $4,040,000 project, to include renovations and the acquisition of machinery and equipment needed so it can start production at the former Alpina facility. The facility is at 5011 W. Ag Park Dr.

This project would add 50 new jobs, with some positions providing training for entry-level employees.

In April 2019, Upstate Niagara Cooperative has completed its acquisition of the former Alpina Foods yogurt plant at a cost of $22.5 million. Upstate Niagara signed a purchase agreement on Feb. 28, 2019, to buy the facility from Climb Your Mountain, Inc. Patterson said Upstate Niagara spent about $1 million more since buying the Alpina plant. The $4 million grant would add to the $23.5 million already spent.

“It’s been vacant for the last 18 months as we’ve tried to figure out the best use for the plant,” said Upstate Niagara Chief Financial Officer Michael Patterson. He said this facility will be a processing plant.

“We’re targeting opening as soon as humanly possible, pending OCR grant approval and equipment ordering and that stuff. We need additional equipment for the facility,” he said.

“One of the toughest issues we face in this area is finding qualified help, so we’re trying to get employees that are ready to be trained and they will be brought into our manufacturing sites — not only for us but for Hood and O-AT-KA (Milk Products Cooperative, Inc.) and other places,” Patterson said. “It was all part of this project.

Upstate Niagara is a farmer-owned cooperative of 327 dairy farms throughout Western New York dedicated to producing, manufacturing and distributing high-quality, fresh and delicious dairy products. Products offered by the Cooperative include milk, flavored milk, ice cream mix, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, refrigerated dips and Italian cheeses. Its dairy products marketed under the Upstate Farms, Bison, Intense Milk, and Valley Farms brands along with our partners’ brands.

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