COTTAGE GROVE - Up North Plastics is set to expand in a big way.

The business park giant will be doubling its facility size as well as nearly double its workforce.

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Already the fifth-largest employer in the city with over 250 jobs, the expansion is estimated to create 200 more over three years.

"It's pretty awesome to see this project coming forward, basically doubling the size of building and jobs," Mayor Myron Bailey said at the Oct. 9 Economic Development Authority meeting.

The current facility is 450,000 square feet, with an additional 460,000 square feet proposed to be added to its 88-acre site.

The company is looking to use economic development tools and programs to assist in the expansion, including Minnesota DEED (Department of Employment and Economic Development) programs Job Creation Fund and the Minnesota Investment Fund.

Up North is requesting MIF to assist in purchasing $950,000 in equipment and machinery.

Business park tenants American Logistics and Renewal by Andersen have previously expanded using this program, Economic Development Authority Director Christine Costello said.

The city is responsible for monitoring these programs, ensuring requirements are being met and reporting back to the state.

The company is also proposing the use of tax increment financing to complete the project. TIF allows taxes collected in the TIF district to be reallocated into the project to assist in its development.

"Up North Plastics has seen tremendous growth, and they want to capitalize on that success at their existing facility," Costello said.

Up North Plastics will also be working with the railroad to add an additional rail spur at the site. The company uses the railway to receive its raw materials for production.

The expansion will include manufacturing and warehouse facilities, as well as silos and cooling towers.

The 16 silos to be built will stand between 64- and 97-feet tall, about 20 feet higher than the current silos which range from 64- to 74-feet tall. Two cooling towers at 67- and 98-feet tall are also proposed. The existing towers measure between 62 and 102 feet.

Up North Plastics has been operating in Cottage Grove since 1981.

The company processes agricultural plastics and construction film, as well as being the largest manufacturer of private-label plastic bag for retail stores.

The City Council approved resolutions of support for the Job Creation Fund and the Minnesota Investment Fund as part of the consent agenda at the Oct. 16 meeting. They also called for the public hearing for the TIF district at the Dec. 9 meeting.