Wells residents angry about failed project

Published 9:06 am Friday, February 28, 2014

WELLS — Government officials and private citizens in a small Faribault County community are frustrated an $8 million investment to redevelop a shuttered food processing plant never produced a single job.

The city of Wells constructed new roads and utilities to accommodate the new development, which promised to bring 200 jobs to the community of 2,500.

Entrepreneur Stephen Singleteary, owner of Diversity Food Processing, secured numerous governmental loans to refurbish the factory and briefly opened the plant in 2010. It closed just a few months later and the property went into foreclosure. The city was recently notified that the plant has been turned over to Pioneer Bank in Mankato.

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Drug store owner Rick Mueller said local residents are angry and disappointed that Singleteary failed to follow through on his plan.

“We had hoped for an increase in jobs, more people in town buying merchandise,” Mueller said.

Ben Musser, owner of Wildcats Bar & Grill, said he moved his Wells business to a new downtown location to take advantage of the traffic he had expected to come from the factory.

That was four years ago, he said, but nothing happened.