CLINTON — A major expansion project at a Clinton factory was announced Thursday in Des Moines.

According to Sen. Roger Stewart, D-Preston, Néstlé-Purina will spend $21 million on new processing systems for dog and cat foods at the local plant located at 2200 Manufacturing Drive.

Stewart said the Iowa Economic Development Board approved Enterprise Zone tax benefits for the project, which will create 10 jobs at an average wage of $13.30 per hour.

Néstlé-Purina Plant Manager Kurt Rouse said the announcement was the result of a lot of cooperation among the Clinton Area Development Corp., the city of Clinton, the Clinton County Enterprise Zone Commission, the East Central Intergovernmental Association and the Iowa Department of Economic Development. CADC President/CEO Steven Ames and President Emeritus Hugh LaMont have been very involved with the effort, said Rouse, and Bill Demuth with the IDED also was a key player.

“We’re just tickled to death that Néstlé-Purina officials both locally and back at the home office continue to see that investing in the Clinton area makes good business sense,” said LaMont. “This (project) brings a whole new product line to be incubated and grown here for the world” and adds security to the existing positions.

LaMont also had praise for city leaders for their work on improvements to Harts Mill Road and the extension of Windsor Drive. He said more than 100 trucks a day benefit from new safety features and a better ability to move products.

There have been several expansion projects at the Clinton Néstlé-Purina plant recently, with a total addition of nearly 150,000 square feet of space on site. Furthermore, LaMont said, the Clausen Brothers Partnership has added nearly that much space in Manufacturing Meadows III for Néstlé-Purina to use as a distribution center.

The expansion will add needed capacity, said Rouse, not bricks and mortar. Existing internal space will be utilized to house the new processing equipment.

That work, he believes, along with the involvement of state and local officials, helped make the Clinton site the most desirable despite competition from sister plants as far away as Pennsylvania and Arizona.

“Our plant being chosen for this level of expansion... speaks well for our operations in Iowa,” said Rouse.

“It shows the great partnership with the state and the Iowa Department of Economic Development,” Ames agreed. “It reflects the state’s acknowledgement of the impact Néstlé-Purina has on our region and positions Néstlé-Purina well for future investment opportunities.”