Truesdale gets pitch to redo roads for Refresco expansion

Adam Rollins, Staff Writer
Posted 2/7/23

Truesdale city officials are entertaining a request to rearrange or completely eliminate several city streets in order to make way for a potential expansion of the Refresco beverage factory — …

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Truesdale gets pitch to redo roads for Refresco expansion

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Truesdale city officials are entertaining a request to rearrange or completely eliminate several city streets in order to make way for a potential expansion of the Refresco beverage factory — but only if the state government pays for all the infrastructure work.

Truesdale aldermen were approached last week by Steve Etcher, a representative of the Greater Warren County Economic Development Council, to discuss the possibility of a state grant to rebuild and/or extend several roadways that serve homes on the southwest side of the Refresco plant. This would include building a new connection to Smith Street, one of the Truesdale’s main east-west roads in the area.

As a bonus, Etcher said the grant application would also include rebuilding a portion of Smith Street, a project that Truesdale had already been planning to do with its own money.

Rebuilding and expanding this portion of the street network would allow the city to completely abandon Truesdale Avenue, an access road that travels through undeveloped land behind Refresco where the company is considering building an expansion, Etcher said.

Under Etcher’s proposal, the road projects would be paid for by an industrial infrastructure grant that the Missouri state government is offering thanks to an influx of funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). There’s no guarantee that Truesdale would receive the funds, Etcher said, but with the potential for industrial development in the area, he thinks the city has a good chance.

“The idea here is to go in with a very modestly sized application that makes it very easy for them to say yes,” Etcher commented. He estimated that the size of the grant Truesdale would apply for is about $1 million in state funding.

Truesdale Mayor Chris Watson, while expressing interest in the project, made it abundantly clear that Truesdale isn’t willing to commit any of its own limited funding.

“If this was to go through, I don’t want to have any money coming out of our end,” Watson said. “I see the positive of this, because of the current project that we’re working on with Smith Street.”

Etcher replied that Truesdale wouldn’t be required to supply any funding. The state government is simply looking for any industrial or infrastructure investment in the area, a requirement that is already fulfilled by ongoing expansion at the Refresco plant.

Refresco announced late last year that it is purchasing $22 million in equipment to expand production at the Truesdale facility, which it purchased from Coca-Cola in 2021. Truesdale awarded the company $607,000 in tax abatements for that equipment.

In addition to that production expansion, online records show that Refresco has purchased around 47 acres of undeveloped land on the southeast side of the plant, reaching all the way to Highway M. The company is considering a facility expansion that would house its product distribution services, Etcher said.

Truesdale Board of Aldermen, Refresco, Economic development

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